Senior tennis captain leaves advice for teammates

Dakaria Heru and Amanda Nguyen

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Cleveland’s tennis team puts meaning behind the phrase “practice makes perfect.” The team’s achievements – beating Franklin’s varsity team in Quaker territory for the first time in 50 years – is an accumulation of countless laps and racquet swings.

The team’s captain, senior Justin Hoang, is a paragon of the success that comes with hard work and dedication. Rather than starting out as a tennis superstar, the captain worked his way up from a much more lackluster title.

“I used to help the team pick up balls,” Hoang laughed. “You could say that I started off as a ball boy.”

Coach Roger Yamaguchi promotes the “Five P’s: Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” When it comes to practice, there is no such thing as child’s play.

“Roger is still encouraging us to think smart like adults, from being organized to planning ahead to thinking smarter, not harder,” Hoang shared.

“My coach is really strict about how we can’t miss practice, [how] we need to be ready and put effort in practice every day,” star player Rodolfo Baba said. “We practice every day. That’s what makes us better. We learn from a mistake.”

While many key players will be graduating, Hoang is confident about the team’s future. He encourages his underclassmen to keep practicing.

“There’s nothing we can do about seniors leaving,” the captain said. “Listen to the advice Roger gives and ask questions. Learn how to hit the right way. Practice is a gift, and it’s up to them to utilize that gift.”

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