His heart pulses in sync with the ball as it smacks the court and bounces between his hand and the cement. The ball hits the ground once again, and when it returns to the hand, it is suddenly thrust into air and swiftly struck by the racket. The ball hurtles across the court towards the opponent, and as a volley ensues, the two players pace themselves, pushing the tension until it snaps and the ball shoots off the court, just out of the opponent’s reach.
For men’s varsity tennis captain Rohan Srivastava, tennis has been a part of his life for a long time, Srivastava said.
“My parents introduced me to the game, and then I did a lot of the summer camps for it when I was young,” Srivastava said.
Similarly to Srivastava, men’s varsity tennis captain Nathan AuYoung’s parents helped him begin his tennis career, encouraging AuYoung to channel his energy into a sport.
“My dad first introduced me to tennis when I was four,” AuYoung said.
Srivastava and AuYoung can both attribute their success to the extra time they spend on the court outside of practice, Srivastava said.
“We all practice a lot in the offseason,” Srivastava said. “Having the courts right there is really nice because it’s so accessible, so we can practice all summer long.”
The team’s most recent loss against University on April 18 broke their winning streak of 13-0, but the team is still looking at a successful season, AuYoung said.
“I know we can do well,” AuYoung said. “We work together very well as a team, and I think we’re very supportive of each other, which will definitely be an important aspect as we continue.”
Men’s varsity tennis player junior Carson Breber attributes part of the team’s overall success to Piedmont’s strong tennis culture.
“This is the best team I’ve ever been on, top to bottom,” Breber said.
Creating that strong bond within the team is one of biggest challenges AuYoung faced as a captain this season.
“As team captain, I think it’s important to be able to talk with everyone and get to know each player better, especially when we have four or five freshmen,” AuYoung said.
As well as the physicality of the sport, tennis can also be very mentally strenuous, Srivastava said.
“When you’re not playing well then it can it can be very frustrating,” Srivastava said.
AuYoung’s biggest challenge as a player is maintaining a strong mindset, AuYoung said.
“There are times when you do lose, and you try to stay positive and cheer up your team as well,” AuYoung said.
Srivastava also played a large role in improving the mentality of the team after their recent loss, AuYoung said.
“[Srivastava is] great on and off the court,” AuYoung said. “He’s super encouraging even when there are times like [the match against University] when I lost a deciding match.”
Srivastava was very supportive after the team’s loss, AuYoung said.
“[Srivastava] came out, spoke with [the team], and even after the game when I was feeling a little down, he texted me and was like, ‘Oh, it’s okay,’” AuYoung said.
NCS will mark the end of the season for the team, Breber said. Piedmont is in Division II and only Division I NCS champions move on to States.
The team considered petitioning to enter Division I as they did a few years ago, but decided against it, Srivastava said. Playing in Division II means that the team can keep their sights set on winning another NCS.
“It feels nice to finish the season winning, like we did last year,” Srivastava said.
Srivastava also goes to tournaments conducted by the United States Tennis Association, Srivastava said.
“You can go and play singles and sometimes doubles with other good players,” Srivastava said. “It’s good to get that match experience because it definitely helps during the season.”
“My goal is basically to hit with every new player, talk to them, and interact with them.”