Making a racket

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Back to Article

Making a racket

By Logan Little

Now ranked third in Northern California by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), senior Ryan Ali picked up his first racket at the age of four at Boyle Park and hasn’t put it down since. “When I started competing, I really loved just playing. I loved the one on one factor and also loved being apart of a team at the same time,” Ali said.

Ali was recently recruited to play tennis for Santa Clara University (SCU), a Division 1 school, because of his speed, strong forehand, and commitment to training on and off the court. In addition to training with Tam’s team and doing individual workouts, Ali practices with the University of San Francisco men’s tennis team during his free third and fourth periods.

“[There are] definitely sacrifices that I’ve had to make. I probably play about three or four hours a day so I have to give up time with friends on the weekends. And it leaves not a lot of time for academics, but that means you have to learn time management which is cool,” Ali said.

At the beginning of this season, Ali developed walking pneumonia, leaving him unable to participate in any physical activity whatsoever, let alone his tennis commitments.

“I was out for three to four weeks and in that span of time we lost to Redwood twice and the team was kind of struggling. It’s affected my game greatly. I’m still trying to come back. I couldn’t work out, practice, or really do anything. It was tough because I had to watch my team without me out there, but I’m back now and we have a good chance to win during the playoffs,” he said.

Ali attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco through his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Tam his junior year. He only joined Tam’s team this season. But even in that short time, he’s made a real impact according to tennis Coach Bill Washauer. “With the exception of a few couple guys from my first year, he’s certainly the best player we’ve had. [He plays] at the highest level and is a legitimate Division 1 player. He’s tough. He’s a leader on the court and plays hard,” Washauer said.

 Ali hopes to finish out this season at Tam with an individual and team win in NCS and NorCals, before going on to play at SCU through college and eventually decide whether or not to pursue tennis professionally.

“I think he’s going to have a really solid college career. He’s obviously a guy who really knows how to be a teammate. He’s fun to have around. He’s good natured and is really really tough on the court…He’s strong. Strong like a bull!” Washauer said.