Mercer Island High School’s Ajay Manhas plays No. 2 singles and is one of the squad’s three captains. Courtesy photo

Mercer Island High School’s Ajay Manhas plays No. 2 singles and is one of the squad’s three captains. Courtesy photo

‘Fireball’ is one of the Islanders’ leaders on the tennis court

Manhas plays No. 2 singles for stellar squad.

Bring the noise.

Mercer Island High School junior tennis captain Ajay Manhas enjoys the loudness from his teammates when he’s in the throes of an intense match.

No matter what the final result will be, the No. 2 singles player just wants to hear the support from his Islander teammates. It’s the best part of being on the tennis court, he said.

“We have like 19 players on the team. We’re known for being the loudest team. We’re always cheering, we’re always just screaming. We have a few guys that have huge voices. When I’m in a tough match, I hear these guys cheering in the back — it just keeps you going. You don’t lose your energy,” said Manhas, who sported a 1-1 singles record at press time.

Manhas, who noted that he’s a better doubles player, listed his strengths as smashing volleys at the net and unleashing a forehand that earned him the nickname “Fireball.”

At press time, the Islanders were off to a scorching 3-0 start with victories over their 3A KingCo foes Bellevue (5-2), Hazen (7-0) and Liberty of Renton (7-0). The third-year varsity player said the team’s goal is win the KingCo title and move on from there.

Manhas shares captain duties with fellow juniors Brandon Chew and Noah Perlman. It’s a three-pronged Islander show that has Manhas providing organizational skills, Chew supplying the hype and Perlman bringing fundamentals and a coaching vibe to the court.

The Reporter asked Manhas a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

“Forrest Gump.”

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Colin Cowherd, he’s a radio/TV guy.

What super power would you like to have?

Super speed.

What’s the best piece of advice that you would give a fellow teammate?

Don’t dread on the past, just have a short-term memory.

What type of music do you listen to?

R&B music.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My favorite thing is watching football. My favorite team is the Seahawks but my favorite player is Dak Prescott. If I played football, I would want to be a safety because you get to see the whole field and do everything: intercept passes, make tackles and blitz the QB.


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