Junior Tanmay Thakkar is a key player for Men’s Tennis, often playing in the No. 3 or No. 4 spot in individual matches and in the No. 2 or No. 3 spot in doubles play. The team boasts an impressive 6–0 record, thanks in part to Thakkar.
Why did you start playing tennis?
I’m from India, and back in India I started playing tennis when I was 10. […] One of the main reasons I started playing tennis was because my dad played tennis and he still does a little bit. He introduced me to the sport and I got really into it.
What do you like specifically about playing tennis at UR?
I think it’s the team spirit, and the fact that you play for the team. Growing up, I always played tennis for myself. But here, everyone supports you. Your victory, your loss, could affect the team, which is a good or a bad thing because you have a lot of pressure on you. I feel that when you enjoy those victories, it’s very special.
How do you feel you’ve improved as an athlete over the course of your college career?
When I came in my freshman year, I was actually No. 7, so I wasn’t technically in the lineup. But I knew that there was a strong learning curve, because when I came, the team was really strong. It still is really strong, but I was a freshman. Throughout the three years, I’ve moved up in the lineup a lot, and that’s partly due to the coaches because they’ve helped me figure my game out. They’ve helped me identify my weaknesses and strengths, and I’ve been working on that throughout the years I’ve been here.
What do you do to prepare before a game?
Before a game, the meals you eat and the time you eat it before the game is really important, as is hydration. In the past, we’ve struggled with a little bit of cramping because the matches can be intense sometimes, even when it’s not played in the heat. You sweat a lot indoors sometimes, it can be really humid inside. Personally, I eat one and a half hours before the match, no matter what. I’ll try to get a sandwich which has a little bit of carbs and thin meat. That’s my go to. If it’s a morning match, I’ll get a bagel for the carbs. And I have a lot of water one day before the match.
How have you improved in terms of the strategic aspects of tennis?
When I came in, I did not play a lot of doubles. But when I came to Rochester, I realized that as a team sport, doubles is a huge part of the competition, which means you have to be strategically able to say how you’re going to play because you don’t always play with a partner. Initially, that was a struggle a little bit, because I didn’t know the people my first year. I really struggled with communicating sometimes. But I’ve really improved at that, so I can play doubles with anyone now and it wouldn’t be a problem.
The team’s doing pretty well so far. What are your expectations for the remainder of the season?
We’re having the best season since my freshman year. For the rest of the season, we just want to keep rolling, because we have a winning streak right now, but that also means we have a lot of pressure right now. […] We have a lot of home matches coming up against teams that are ranked higher than us. Our goal is to stay healthy, not get injured, and give 100 percent on the court. We want to do what we’ve been doing. We’ve been playing really well in doubles, and we want to keep the focus on the game and not get distracted because we got a couple of wins.
What’s your biggest achievement as a tennis player here?
My biggest achievement so far is this season. My biggest personal accomplishment is I’ve had a 9–0 doubles streak with one of the players on the team, but we didn’t have a great year overall. This year, I feel like it’s a personal achievement for me too because we really believed we had a good team but we still had to put in the work to beat good teams so I think the biggest achievement so far is that we have not lost a single match yet.