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

The Haverford School sophomore captured the Inter-Ac singles tennis tournament earlier this month, and then paired with Ford teammate Drew Clark to capture the Inter-Ac doubles tennis championship as well. 

Q: What do you think was your best match of the Inter-Ac singles tournament? What is your most vivid memory of the singles tournament? Can you share it with us?

A: My best match of that tournament was definitely in the finals against Gregory Zlobinsky of Penn Charter. Greg and I know each other pretty well from outside tournaments, and he had actually beaten me earlier in the season, so it was a great win for me and my team. My favorite moment of the tournament had to be winning the final point in the last match to clinch the doubles and singles title for Haverford.

Q: What do you think was the key to winning the Inter-Ac doubles championship? What was it like playing another Haverford School duo in the championship finals? 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: In the doubles championship Drew and I both knew that we had to keep our focus at a high level throughout the tournament, and if we could do that, we knew that we had a very good chance at winning it all. Playing Will and Connor was definitely a lot different than playing other teams from outside schools considering we usually play matches against each other at practice at least once a week. Since we all knew each other’s games so well it made the doubles championship that much more competitive. One key play during the match that sticks out to me was after I had tanked a return over the fence on match ball. On the next return Drew kept his cool and hit an unbelievable return to set up a volley for me at net to get us back into the lead.

Q: What do you think has been your best match of your Haverford School tennis career to date? What was particularly working well for you that day?

A: My best match for Haverford so far was definitely my first round singles match earlier in the season at NEMA. Although I ended up losing the match 9-7 I played some of the best tennis of my life that day considering that going into the match I was not supposed to win. That particular day my serve was really helping me stay in the match, especially when I was down 6-2. This match I think really helped me gain confidence for the remainder of the season and played a big role leading up to the Inter-Ac Championships.

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

A: Right now the strongest part of my game is my backhand. I have always been able to rely on it when I’m down in a match or game.  The part of my game that needs the most work is probably utilizing my height on my serve and transitioning into the net better.

Q: What (to you) has been the most memorable experience of your tennis career outside of Haverford School? Can you share that experience with us?

A: The most memorable part of my tennis career was winning my first level 4 doubles championship. Coming into the tournament my partner and I were not seeded very high but ended up saving 4 match points to win the final of the tournament in the closest match of my junior career.

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

A: Some of my favorite tennis players on the tour right now are probably most of the younger guys such as Thanasi Kokkinakis, Taylor Fritz and Alexander Zverev. I do my best to try to model my game after these three guys because of their height and aggressive play style.

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

A: My top tennis mentors have been my parents, the coaches at Merion and [Haverford School] Coach [Antonio] Fink. All of these people have helped so much to get me to the level I am at today. Without their support and encouragement I wouldn’t be anywhere near the level I am at today. The most important thing that they have all taught me is how to have a good work ethic on and off the court and how to develop a mental edge on the court.

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

A: Usually on the day of a match I always try my best to get a good night sleep and a good breakfast. Then about 15-30 minutes before the match I start to warm up with my jump rope and some dynamic stretching high knees, butt kicks, etc…. If possible sometimes earlier in the day I like to go out and hit for about an hour with some of my friends.

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

A: My favorite venue that I have played at so far would have to be the courts at the Notre Dame facility. I went there last year for a tournament and haven’t seen anything as nice as their tennis facility.

Q: What do you think you’d like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly appeals to you? What are your favorite colleges at the present time?

A: At the moment I haven’t put too much thought into what I would like to major in yet but some that sound interesting are finance and business. When I get older I think I would like to have a career that involves finance or something along those lines. Right now some colleges that I would love to go to would probably be Boston College, Boston University, University of Miami and many others.


Fun facts – John Walsh

Favorite TV show: Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Favorite color: Blue.

Birth date: April 11, 2000.

(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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