William Masselli ~ Editor in Chief
The University of Lynchburg Men’s Tennis Team completed a historic season in the spring semester of 2021, and Christian Kumar, a senior walk-on, played an influential role in this team’s success.
Kumar said, “Last year, I heard about the tennis team needing more players, and I thought initially that I didn’t have enough time in my schedule. Growing up, it had always been a dream of mine to play college sports until I shattered my knee cap in seven places in high school. I prayed about the opportunity to play and talked to my family and friends and felt it would be worth a shot to try out. The day before my tryout, while playing some pickup basketball, I suffered a grade-4 ankle sprain that put me on hold for the next few weeks. However, with the help of our athletic trainer, I was able to quickly recover and I began to practice with the team once healthy. After a lot of hard work getting back into shape and reacquainting with the game of tennis, I earned a starting position and remained undefeated personally during the regular season.”
Kumar has had many highlights over the duration of his season. “My favorite experience so far has been our win over Hampton Sydney last year, snapping a five-match losing streak against the school. My singles match was especially exciting as our opponent put their usual #3 seed at #6 to play me at #6 six. After dropping the first set, I was able to bounce back and win the next two sets to claim a singles win and help my team cruise to a 6-3 win over the Tigers,” stated Kumar.
Throughout the regular season, Kumar remained undefeated individually, but this changed in the ODAC tournament. Kumar stated, “My least favorite experience so far was my first ODAC tournament experience. In the ODAC quarterfinals, we were matched up against Roanoke College and went into singles play with a 2-1 advantage. However, as the match progressed we were down 4-3, and the deciding match came down to the #5 and #6 matches to call the game. Unfortunately, after dropping the first set and an uphill battle to take the second and force a third deciding set, the comeback came up short as I had lost my first collegiate tennis match.”
Everyone on Kumar’s team has common goals such as beating hated rivals and winning the ODAC. Kumar stated, “This year, we have a common goal. Our common goal is to play our best and compete for an ODAC championship at all costs. We lost some talented seniors who graduated last year, but we have also acquired some exciting talent. All of us are excited to compete this spring and are putting in the hard work to put forth another great season to follow up last year’s historic season with our program’s highest ever seed in the ODAC tournament.
Cooper Brewen, a junior, expressed a similar viewpoint as Kumar, stating, “The best part of last season was finishing fourth in the conference. I look forward to beating Hampden Sydney this year. The team has a great mindset to go far, and I am sure we will do great in the ODAC tournament.”
Director of Men’s and Women’s Tennis Christopher Johnson, said, “We are looking for another great year this year. Although it is always hard to replace three graduating seniors, we have some new men here. We have already started with some great practices. I look forward to watching this year’s team grow and compete.”
Kumar said, “My advice to underclassmen would be to never give up in any area of life. Patience and hard work go a long way, trust in God’s plan and look to bring Him glory in everything you do. I thought my athletic career was over, but little did I know I would have the chance to compete for an ODAC title this year. When it comes to balancing schoolwork, leadership, athletics, friendships, and everything else that mostly goes unnoticed, you have to grind and never waste a moment. Most of us are given four years to accomplish everything we can, so prioritize what means most to you and put forth your best effort. Breaks are important but look to maximize every second you can to work on your craft.”
For more information on mens tennis, visit: https://www.lynchburgsports.com/sports/mten/2020-21/news