Girls Varsity Tennis – Isha Rao ’22
Interviewed and written by Gale Gai ’22
Learn more about junior girls varsity tennis player Isha Rao from Gale Gai’s recent interview.
GG: What’s your story with tennis?
IR: I started tennis when I was six. I played for fun for about a year or so. Then, I started getting competitive when I was around eight. Before coming to boarding school, I played a lot of tournaments.
GG: What the best thing about the tennis team at DA?
IR: When I’m at home, I’m usually not on a team. I played more individually in tournaments and more, so being on a team here is a great thing. It makes the sports so much more fun to have the same people to practice with every day and having games with them, and it is also great to be in that team culture and family.
GG: What’s your secret to performing well on a matchday?
IR: Before every match, Mr. Austin gives a team huddle, and he has a little speech he gives us where he makes us meditate and visualize. It’s always a one-minute little thing before every match, and those are always fun helpful in calming down nerves before our matches.
GG: Tell us your best moment so far with this Deerfield team.
IR: It was freshman year, and we were coming back from an away game. When the bus was making the turn behind Barton, I remember one of the seniors was yelling “one turn!” for fun to encourage the driver to make the turn with one go. The driver really went for it, and I think he hit the tree a little bit with the bus, and he was super embarrassed. I don’t think Mr. Austin was too happy about it, but it was just a funny moment I shared with the team.
GG: What is the most valuable thing about tennis for you?
IR: The main thing is when you’re playing tennis, you are alone on the court. You have to figure it out and stay calm. It teaches you to have a strong independent mindset, and it is something that tennis has helped me with the most.