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Haverford School’s John Walsh is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

John Walsh (photo courtesy of The Haverford School)

The Haverford School junior played first singles throughout the season for the Fords’ undefeated boys’ tennis squad (14-0) and posted a 10-1 record. He won the No. 1 flight at the 2017 NEMA doubles tournament alongside senior Will McDevitt. Walsh played five rounds of qualifying and made it to the main draw of the 2017 Orange Bowl. 

Q: What do you think was your best match of the season? What is your most vivid memory of the season?

A: My best match of the season would have to be clinching the No.1 flight at the 2017 NEMA invitational alongside my partner, senior Will McDevitt. Being able to serve out the 10-point tiebreaker and help Will win his last NEMA tournament is definitely the most vivid memory of my season and high school career.

Q:. What do you think was the key to winning the No. 1 flight at NEMA? Was there one key play during the doubles tournament that sticks out in your memory – if so, can you describe the play, and your role in it?

A: The key to winning our flight was being able to rely on each other on important service games and big points throughout the tournament. One series of events that sticks out in particular was the 10-point tiebreaker in the finals of the tournament. Being able to battle back after losing the second set and win a tight breaker was incredible.

Q: What was your most vivid memory from the Orange Bowl?

A: Winning my final point of my last qualifying match – after a long four days it felt great to finally make it into the main draw and be able to compete at the top level.

Q: You mentioned that the best match of your Haverford School tennis career was the finals of this year’s NEMA tournament. What was particularly working well for you that day?

A: That particular day my serve really saved me at moments when other parts of my game started to fail. Having Will there to clean up points at the net during my service games was also a huge help.

Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game are you working on the most?

A: My backhand has been the shot that I rely most on in pressure situations and in big points. The shot I have been spending the most time on improving has been my serve.

Q: What has been the most memorable experience of your tennis career outside of Haverford School?

A: Having the opportunity to play at the USTA Boys National Championship in Kalamazoo and compete for a spot at the U.S. Open last summer has been my most memorable experience. The atmosphere at the Zoo is like no other and hopefully I have the opportunity to play there again this summer.

Q: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after any of them?

A: My favorite tennis player would have to be Rafa Nadal. I do my best to mimic the way he approaches every point and battles until the end of every match.

Q: Tell us about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.

A: In the morning I eat a light breakfast and then head over to the playing site for a light hit. Leading up to match I do a series of dynamic warm-ups and bandwork.

Q: Who have been your top tennis mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from them?

A: My coach Taylan Batuk has been key to my recent success. Not only has he helped me with my tennis, but also helped to make me a better person on and off the court. Coach [Antonio] Fink has also been a great help to me over the years of my high school tennis career.

Q: What is your favorite tennis venue, and why?

A: Kalamazoo College, where the National Championships are held – its competitive environment and beautiful courts set it apart from any other venue I’ve been to.

Q: You have not yet committed to a college – what are your favorite colleges at the present time?

A: Some of my favorite colleges are UCSB, Boston College, Dartmouth, Boston University, Middlebury, Navy, and a few others.

Fun facts – John Walsh

Favorite book: The Firm.

Favorite TV show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Favorite movie: 22 Jump Street.

Favorite athlete: Rafa Nadal.

Favorite pre-match meal: Pasta.

(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

 

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