In 2020, Matthew picked up a tennis racket for the first time, joined Gladiator Tennis, and won the 2.5 playoffs. He was double promoted into the 3.25 level this year, and encountered a learning curve at this level, finishing the 1st 2 seasons with a 4-9 record. But he was acclimating to the higher level of play and finished with a 5-2 record in the final season, peaking just in time to make his playoff run.
The biggest test in Matthew’s run to his 2nd championship in a row occurred in the quarterfinals vs. Bhaskar Mohanraj. Matthew lost the first set 6-4, and the two of them were knotted up at 4-4 in the 2nd. At that point, Matthew became determined to grind out every point, and play error free tennis. Matthew’s defensive approach led to a service break which gave him the added confidence to play more aggressive and finish out the 2nd set 6-4. His newfound momentum carried him through the super tiebreak in lieu of the 3rd set, and he won it 10-4.
The following semifinal was a rematch with Venkata Kalagotla who had beaten him earlier in the year. Matthew’s 6-3, 6-1 victory demonstrated how much he had improved over the course of the summer. All the confidence that Matthew gained from these two wins helped in carrying him past Troy DeArmitt in a close final 7-5, 6-4.
Matthew’s Story: I played baseball, basketball, and track growing up. With other sports shut down last year due to the Covid pandemic, I decided to pick up tennis. I learned about Gladiator Tennis by searching online - the opportunity to play at an entry level competitively was what drew me. After winning the 2.5 playoffs in Gladiator, I then decided to join a USTA team and played every Sunday throughout the winter.
The format of Gladiator Tennis works for me because I’m in law school and need the flexible scheduling. I’ve also enjoyed meeting so many new players, and I practice with Troy Dearmitt for fun beyond the league matches.