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TENNIS

Rocklin frosh turns pastime into passion on tennis court

Agelakopoulos goes extra mile
By: Amanda Calzada Placer Herald Correspondent
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When Rocklin freshman Alex Agelakopoulos gave high school athletics a shot, he served the tennis team and Sierra Foothill League an outstanding season. ?What he lacks in experience he has made up for with incredible work ethic and tremendous desire,? said Thunder head coach Marsh Riggs. The freshman, holding a varsity season record of 16-2 in singles and a winning percentage of 0.899 was named the Thunder?s ?Most Improved Player? and selected as a Sierra Foothill All-League Player. ?It?s more difficult than it seems. It?s not just about hitting the ball over the net; there?s a strategy to the game,? he said. Agelakopoulos played both doubles and singles for the squad, mainly concentrating on singles. He showcased his singles performance in the semifinals of the Fresno High School Classic, the nation?s third largest high school tennis competition. He was one of the Thunder?s two athletes to win their first nine consecutive matches this season. His favorite moment of the season, he said, was bringing home a victory in the SFL semifinals against the No. 3 Granite Bay. Agelakopoulos considers his strengths to be his forehand, mental strength, and general athleticism. For the next season, he hopes to better his serves, backhand, and footwork. The freshman says tennis has been a familiar game to him for three to four years, but he did not begin seriously training until the past year when he joined the school team. Following practices, he ran from the school courts to his house ?non-stop? as extra-conditioning. He also integrated light weight-training into his regime. To prepare for next season, Agelakopoulos has registered for USTA Jr. tournaments. For other athletes, or people looking to maximize their skill potential, he emphasizes the importance of practice. Among his admiration for the professional players, Nadal, Djokovic, and Agassi, Agelakopoulos also honors his coach, Marsh Riggs for his expertise. His ultimate goal is to score an athletic scholarship to a university of his choice. The athlete attributes his goals mostly to his parents who constantly help him improve his level, he says. Parent Emily Agelakpoulos also praises Riggs for exhibiting professional and caring attitudes toward the team. She advocates tennis as a family sport. ?It brings families together in a good, healthy competitive way. It is a fast-moving and strategic sport,? she said.