SPORTS: Varsity tennis seniors: Isaac Rodney, Joshua Del Rosario, and Arjun Swaroop


Seniors Joshua Del Rosario, Arjun Swaroop, and Isaac Rodney

Who’s your favorite tennis player?

Issac Rodney: Rafa Nadal

Joshua Del Rosario: Its gotta be Federer

Arjun Swaroop: I’m gonna say my Dad on that one, you know? As much as I think I’m pretty good, my dad’s always been better- why are you laughing? I’m being serious out here and you guys are laughing. Does Nadal know who you are? My Dad knows who I am at least. Yeah. And your guys’ dads play tennis too; why didn’t you say your dads? Oh yeah, fun fact, all our dads have played against each other. So we’re kinda like the second generation, I guess? 


How do you prepare for a match? What pre-game rituals do you have?

Rodney: As a team we huddle together and try to get ourselves motivated before a match. Individually, I make sure I warm up, stretch, and all that stuff.

Del Rosario: It’s important to keep energy up before a match because, especially for those three hour matches, it’s really easy to get down, so it’s definitely important to just stay motivated.

Swaroop: As a team, we have this huddle thingy. And it kinda excitation-transfers [psychology term right there] and then whatever that circle is called, you know, that hype up thing. Personally, I mean, I do a lot of things for myself. I use this app to get into the right mindset, and then of course I listen to one song repeatedly and I think one thing I do is I rub an orange on my face. That’s like a pre-game tradition and I’m undefeated with it. 


You rub an orange on your face?

Swaroop: Yeah, it all started when Josh’s Mom brought us all treats but then I dropped the orange. I was like ‘I’m not gonna throw this orange away’ so I rubbed it on my face and I played that game really well. So now I do it before every match.


What’s your favorite memory from being on the tennis team?

Rodney: There are a lot of moments, but I think honestly just eating out as a team. Going to Culver’s together is always a great time. 

Del Rosario: It’s gotta be when we got third in conference. We were the underdogs that year and we overachieved that year and it was really nice to get some victories. 

Swaroop: I think what Josh was saying about getting third at conference. It reminds me of a Coach Dom quote, where he’s like ‘every team is nice to us but suddenly they start to hate us when we start winning.’ That’s what I’d say was the best moment because it really brought the whole team together with all of our differences. But I guess for my best moment it was winning conference last year with Austin Majors.


What’s your biggest regret you’ve had in tennis? What would you go back and do differently?

Rodney: Probably just getting angry at the matches I lost instead of looking at the lessons that I learned and improving for the future.

Del Rosario: In the beginning, it was definitely important to focus on the fundamentals which was not something that I did. I kind of just wanted to speed up the process but it took a lot of hard work to get that in. 

Swaroop: I wouldn’t have celebrated that one time against Minooka. I mean that’s the obvious one, you know, because it did cost us the game. I feel like we got a bad image. I was trying to be the superhero, but I realized I’m just the supervillain. 


What’s your favorite part of tennis?

Rodney: That’s actually a hard question. I think it’s the satisfaction of your hard work paying off. Especially beating opponents that you’ve lost to before. 

Del Rosario: It’s always going to be the same strokes. The same things you need so hard work is definitely very important. 

Swaroop: I’d say the solo aspect of it. A lot of people tell me ‘you’re a horrible team player’ and I’ve kinda accepted that. But then again it’s you against them. I can’t go blaming Josh at three courts away because he screamed. It’s my fault that I lost the match. It’s the individuality. You control your own fate. 


What would you say is your biggest weakness as a player?

Rodney: My mentality. My mentality is pretty trash. There have been points in a match where I was winning and then I just let out the gas. 

Del Rosario: I would definitely say mentality. It’s very easy to get angry. Especially when these things are out of your control like it’s you, it’s messing up your game. I definitely got to work on that. It’s always costing me a bunch of points and a bunch of games. 

Swaroop: Mentality, just kidding, just kidding. I would say it’s my fundamentals. My fundamentals aren’t as good as these guys and I think that holds me back sometimes. Like my forehand, I wish I had that shot but the fundamentals just aren’t there to be able to hit that shot accurately and with power because anyone can get the ball over the net with a forehand. But then Josh is hitting it and WHACK, he just won the point and you just lost because you don’t have the fundamentals.


What would you say to those who want to join but might be too hesitant?

Rodney: I mean, just this year we’ve had two seniors join this year, and we have seniors join for the first time every year and I think it’s a great way to end the year. It’s also just a lifetime sport, like learning it in high school will really set you off in the future. 

Del Rosario: Just do it. Just join.

Swaroop: The only thing to fear is the campus-runs. The coaches are really, really nice people. They demand a lot out of you but they’re really nice. There’s good people and there’s no real negativity or conflict on the team. Everyone is welcoming. You’re gonna make life-long friends and I think after high school I’m still gonna be in contact with everyone on the team and be friends with them for a while.


What do you hope new players keep in mind and what advice would you give them?

Rodney: I think you have to keep in mind that hard work is required every time. Also, try not to show off, but really stick to the fundamentals.

Del Rosario: I agree.

Swaroop: I’d say that you’re not gonna be the best player on the first day. Everyone thinks tennis is so easy, you know, especially you, Ben. But you can’t beat hard work. You have to spend so much time on it. And, you know, that’s what I’d say, you just gotta work hard. If you’re looking for an easy sport, just go play something else. But this one is actually kinda hard. It requires a little bit of talent and a lot more hard work. And also if your name is Isaac Rodney, I guess. That’s my answer.


What kind of legacy are you hoping to leave behind here at East for future tennis players?

Rodney: I just hope we can win conference this year. I don’t think we’ve won conference before and I think winning conference would really help inspire the future generations of PEHS tennis. 

Del Rosario: I think we have the best team that we’ve ever had this year. I think we could win conference. It’s just been getting better and better the past few years, so I hope that momentum keeps going on for the next few years. 

Swaroop: I think the legacy that I want to leave behind is hard work and dedication. I mean, no offense to these guys, but these guys have been training for I don’t know how many years but personally I haven’t had any training so I’ve had to hustle for what I have, you know what I’m saying? And I’m a two-time champ, you know? I mean of course they have more medals outside the pitch but I’m a two-time champ. So that’s what I would say to that question. A legacy of hard work and that’s what I’d leave behind. Please spin this in a way that makes me sound good, OK? You know what I’m saying. 


Any shout outs? 

Rodney: I gotta shout out Coach Dom and Coach Haupt. They’ve been great coaches. Also shoutout to the managers for helping out.

Del Rosario: I wanna shout out Ben Zielinski, for giving this great interview.

Swaroop: Hi Mom and Austin.