On Saturday, December 12, the HBS Tennis Team played the Harvard College Varsity B Team at the Murr Center. Harvard College boasted a #1 Northeast Ranking and a #31 National Team ranking last season, making this a tough match-up for HBS, even though Harvard’s top players did not compete.
Coming off a one-practice warm up, the HBS has-beens, boasting varsity letters from Michigan, Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford as well as five years of combined ATP experience, hoped to prove that they still had the skills and abilities of their former years. Aleem Choudhry (OC) provided the uniforms (shown above): skin tight black tank tops “to demonstrate team unity and HBS classiness,” said Aleem. Amy Burnett (wife of Grady Burnett (NF)), came with a poster of the younger Grady to remind him of his past. Spurred on by a loud cheering section, HBS had a few moments of glory, but ultimately fell to the younger athletes by a match score of 6-1.
The best match of the day came at #1 doubles where Phil Tseng (OI) and Gog Boonswang (OA) (former rivals when Gog played at Princeton and Phil at Harvard) battled junior Jason Beren (HC) and freshman Gideon Valkin (HC) into a pro-set tiebreaker. While the undergraduates were clearly in better physical shape, Phil and Gog resorted to experience and wisdom in pulling the match out. After four years of working on Wall Street, their tennis games were rusty. However, they were able to dig deep, pull out the big shots to win crucial points, and play aggressively.
This aggressiveness was shown through big service returns and incessant net poaching. “Gog has always been an animal at the net, just returning
anything that comes close to him,” said Phil.
The rest of the matches didn’t fare as well. HBS lost the doubles point, losing the other two doubles matches 8-2. At singles, the HBS players began to show their age and signs of fatigue – aching backs, sore elbows, and heavy breathing. The closest match came at #5 singles where Aleem Choudhry (OC) had multiple set points in the first set, but lost it in a tie breaker. Aleem lost in a close second set at 6-4.
While there was one on-court injury, the good news was that the HBS team walked off injury-free. At #6 singles, Ryan Clark was ahead 3-0 when his opponent pulled a shoulder muscle and defaulted the match, giving HBS their sole point of the day.
The team was selected based on both performance in the HBS Doubles
Tournament held in the fall and former collegiate/professional records, and they hope to get together as a team again for the spring Inter-B-School Team Tennis Tournament to be hosted by HBS. Thanks from the team to all the fans that came out and cheered on.