Swingin’ spartans


Joshua Leow

Arvind Ramesh (10) and Coach Jan Waller practicing their strokes during a team practice.

A racquet, a pair of sneakers and a passion for the game these are the tools you need to succeed in the game of tennis. Possessing all of these features, the White Station Tennis Team hopes to make a name for themselves during their 2017 season.

The Spartans are led by freshman phenom Takuma Walter (9), who has claimed the number one ranking for the boys team this year. Learning the game early on, Walter first started taking lessons when he was eight years old.

“I started playing at a young age, and once my coaches saw I had potential, I was hooked,” Walter said.

The women of the team are led by Eesha Gudiseva (9) who serves as their number one ranked player. Gudiseva plays in high level tournaments outside of White Station and is slowly making a name for herself in the tennis community.

Coming off of a season where they made it to the district finals last year but lost in an epic match against Houston High School, the Spartans are looking to make a long playoff stride.

Preparation is key. You can find players perfecting their game at Leftwich Tennis Center located off of Southern Avenue, although they all have different personal practice facilities as well where they work to perfect their game.

“I personally practice at the Racquet Club of Memphis, Garrett Whitehorn (11) said.

Year-in and year-out, the Spartans face the best competition the city of Memphis has to offer. Facing teams from public and private school divisions, they certainly have a tough schedule. White Station’s top opponents include Christian Brothers, Germantown and Houston.

“I think our biggest opponent will be CBHS, because last year we were really tight in the match, but unfortunately lost towards the end,” Takuma said.

A crucial factor in White Station’s game is acquiring and maintaining the proper equipment needed to dominate any given match or set. Some factors of the equipment, such as athletic shoes, are less important while others, like the racquet, can make or break a player’s game. A player should aim to have their strings on their racquet as fine-tuned as possible to match their swinging motion,complementing their overall game.

“Shoes don’t make much of a difference in a match for me, but having my head adjusted to how I hit and caring for it properly dictates how comfortable I’ll feel and perform using my racquet and swinging,” Whitehorn said.

The Spartans are led by head coach Jan Waller. He provides his players with support and fundamental skill development.

Searching for redemption from last season’s loss in the district finals, the Spartans are looking to endure the long and challenging path to the state tournament this year, taking down any competition that stands in their way.

“We are definitely looking to go to state this year,” Whitehorn said. “We are trying to make a name for ourselves.”