Harvard was playing against Vanderbilt away at Vanderbilt
Senior year - playing at #6 singles and #3 doubles for the match
Riding on the momentum in singles after going on a winning streak
Harvard won the doubles point and went up 1:0. (whichever team wins 2 out of 3 doubles matches get the doubles point)
Usually all 6 singles matches start at the same time after doubles but Vanderbilt’s facility only has 5 courts, so I was left to start whenever one of the matches was over.
By the time my match barely started, we were down 3-1 with Vanderbilt getting the first 3 singles matches that finished.
It was left with #3, #5 and #6 (myself) so we had to win all of these matches to win the battle against Vanderbilt.
Soon after both #3 and #5 won their matches, with #5 coming back from one set down to win the match. My opponent and myself were the only ones left on court to compete. Whoever wins the match will take the team to victory.
Players and coaches of each team lines up next to the court cheering and watching on the remaining match <- this is something you don’t get as a touring tennis player because tennis is not a team sport, you are always on your own.
At this moment, you can really feel the bond you have built with your team throughout the season, as they cheer on you.
It is such a nerve-wracking experience to be playing the deciding match as not only you fate is on the line, the outcome of the match will also determine the winning team of the battle.
Encouraging to have teammates cheering on you, however at the same time it is extra pressure because you never want to let your teammates down.
Soon after about 1.5 hours of high-quality tennis, I won the first set 6-4 and am now at matchpoint in the tiebreak of the second set.
I remember as soon as both my opponent and myself were ready to begin the point, cheering from the stands and the sideline stopped. I could feel my heartbeat and my thoughts going through my head. I remember talking to myself, “just get the return back into the court no matter what happens. And take charge of the point by using my forehand and direct everything to my opponents forehand”.
Here is the last point of the match: I need to find it and share it...
The moment I put the ball away at the net - it was the biggest relief i have ever felt in my life; upsetting a team that was ranked higher than us at their home courts; and not having to let my teammates down.