The Ridgewood High School Men’s tennis season has begun. However, not everything for the team is going according to plan. Due to snow removal earlier in the year, Ridgewood High School’s home courts have been damaged. In fact, two of the five courts are unplayable, and the team has been forced to reschedule certain matches at their opponents’ courts until repairs are made. Furthermore, the damage has forced the team to resort to practicing at local courts, such as those at Somerville Elementary School.
However, the damaged tennis courts are not the only setback the Maroons have endured this season. A few weeks ago, Berfu Yildiz, their starting singles player, suffered a sprained ankle and was forced to sit out for a week. Fortunately, Berfu has made a speedy recovery and is back to playing. As mentioned before, Berfu has moved up from playing second singles last year, and is filling the spot of former number one, Timber Erskine. When asked about his experience this season at the top of the ladder, Yildiz said, “This season is so far the hardest season in my high school career in Ridgewood. Being the first singles player requires mental strength and comes with a lot of responsibilities; not only for me, but also for my teammates.” The lineup this year appears to be very strong, which will help them achieve their goals throughout the season.
However, the line up was originally off to a rocky start, as the Maroons’ Varsity team lost three seniors last year, forcing them to reshuffle their starting players. This year, the team has nine seniors, one junior, and two sophomores. Sophomores Ryan Mahtab and Kozuma Noda, who were last year’s first doubles team, have returned as starting singles players. Kozuma Noda is playing second singles, taking the place of current captain and first singles player Berfu Yildiz.
In an effort to maintain the titles that they have won in previous years, the team members have their work cut out for them. As a result of their rigorous training during the 2014 tennis season, the team was placed in the North 1 Group 4 tournament semifinals, which allowed them to place second in the county tournament. This year, the team faces a total of 20 matches which started April 6 and will continue until May 11.
According to Berfu, the team has a grueling week ahead of them as they take on formidable opponents such as Ramapo, Paramus, and Old Tappan. The team will also face rivals Tenafly and Northern Highlands multiple times this season. So far the Maroons have lost against both Tenafly (1-4) and Northern Highlands (2-3). However, the team will have more opportunities for a rematch in their upcoming games, and in the county tournament as the season progresses.
Kolby Erskine and Brianna Patek