Perfection in any sport is often an arduous and difficult task.
This is especially true in team sports due to reliance upon teammates. Everyone has to pull their weight in order to ensure success. The Mercer Island Islanders No. 1 doubles team consisting of Chris Elliot/Kevin Chen had no problem rising to the occasion this fall.
The Elliot/Chen combination was victorious in every single doubles match they’ve competed in during the 2018 regular season. Elliot said the key to their success is aggressiveness and risk taking.
“We are a force at the net. We try to get up there as quickly as we can and are both quick movers. We just play off of each other. My last doubles partner was a big hitter but was more of a baseline guy. Kevin is just so quick at the net and has lots of touch. He is a really great player,” Elliot explained.
Chen was thrilled to be teamed up with a player of Elliot’s caliber during early season practice sessions in August.
“Chris won a state doubles title his sophomore year, so he obviously brings a lot to the table. I think as a team we have a really good tennis IQ. It is great to play with such a highly skilled player,” Chen said of Elliot.
Chen said conditioning doesn’t play as much of role of success in doubles play as much as pure willpower and doggedness does.
“I think with doubles, it is a little less about conditioning and more about the mental game. If we are playing another team and we are up (ahead on points), we need to not let up and keep that energy going to keep them underneath us at all times,” Chen said of his mindset.
The Class 3A state tennis tournament takes place this May. The Elliot/Chen duo wants to bring home a state title. Chen said the Islanders entire program is a huge fan of Islanders boys tennis head coach Ryan Pang’s philosophy.
“Our goal is to win state. Ryan is a great coach. The things that Pang brings to the table as a coach are just huge. My freshman year I didn’t really know how to volley or how to serve. Pang has taught me through the years basically how to play doubles and how to be a great competitor,” Chen said.
Elliot concurred with Chen’s sentiment.
“Everyone on this team is very supportive of each other. The energy we have out here at every single practice is really great,” Elliot said.