Expectations are always high around the Plano West tennis team, and the Wolves are in the midst of another big year. West is ranked in the state's top 10 and currently tied for first place in District 6-6A heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Wolves have maintained a high level of play despite the loss of a bevy of contributors from last season's Class 6A state championship team, and one of the key components to West's success this year has been senior Anirudh Reddy.
A mainstay in head coach Morgen Walker's lineup for multiple years, Reddy discusses the Wolves' championship culture, his friendly rivalry with Allen star Tejas Ram, and what he'll miss most about high school tennis.
SLM: You're right back at the top of the boys lineup this season, but West obviously has quite a few new faces on the court elsewhere. Has your role on the team changed much from last season?
AR: As for my role as a player, I don’t think it has changed much. I feel like I still bring a unique style of play to the team.
However, this year due to the graduation of a lot of our older players, I feel as If I have taken on more of a prominent role as a leader, in the hopes of maintaining the same level of dominance for the next few years of Plano West Tennis.
SLM: For as many years as you've been on varsity, how different does the game of tennis feel for you now that you're a senior?
AR: To be honest, whether it was freshman year or senior year, stepping out onto the court makes me feel like a child once again with complete freedom, but I do think the experience I have gained throughout the years has forged my attitude into that of a champion.
SLM: As one of the top players for one of the top tennis programs in the state, how would you describe the culture of Plano West tennis?
AR: Nothing beats the program, team, coaches here at West. This team is so close knit we are almost family and we foster great relationships with other teams. such an upbringing veil surrounds our team which promotes growth and hard work.
The coaches work nonstop in order to give our players opportunities to be the best they can be and that’s all you can ask for in a coach.
And not just for tennis — every member of the team is there for each other on and off the court and that’s what makes us so special and contributes to our years of success.
SLM: Although tennis is more of an individual sport, what do you get out of the fall season with there being more emphasis on the team aspect?
AR: Nothing beats the feeling of having teammates cheer you on. Tennis is a very a lonely sport that almost promotes isolation. Team tennis in the fall is the exception whenever you a lose a point or win a point you are given constant support that enables you to keep putting your heart and soul into every point.
And that team aspect teaches you that tennis doesn’t have to be so lonely. Being on a team is great, and I know without my teammates I wouldn’t be half the player I am today. They give me tips, cheer me up and even scold when necessary, but that’s what makes fall season so special.
SLM: How long have you been playing tennis and what got you into the sport?
AR: I started playing when I was 10-and-a-half, and honestly I started playing as a way to maintain my health with my best friend from Allen, but our competitive spirits only enhanced my love for the sport. I wanted more than just a good workout — I wanted to succeed and be someone that others can look at and say, “Wow he worked hard.”
SLM: Who have been some of the biggest influences in your growth as a tennis player?
AR: The obvious answers would be my family, as they kept me going even when I think it wouldn’t be possible, but coming back to the friend from Allen (Tejas Ram), our competitive natures led us to improvement at surreal rates and that rivalry and bond we shared pushed me to get better in the hopes of being better than him.
That rivalry may be my greatest influence throughout the years along with my continued familial support.
SLM: Being in your final season of high school tennis, what are you going to miss most about your time playing for Plano West?
AR: In all honesty, I’m going to miss the bus rides, team dinners and hangouts the most. These people on the team have changed my life and going to college and leaving them behind is tough, because these memories I have created over the last four years on these bus rides and at these dinners will last me a lifetime.
Tennis is a privilege and I will make sure to cherish these couple years until the end.
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