Arjun Krishnan returned to the doubles lineup after two seasons in the High School North boys’ tennis singles lineup.
Back where he had broken into the Knights lineup as a freshman, the senior enjoyed his finest year in his last season.
“Before, I was thinking about myself and how to improve,” he said. “I still do that, but the doubles experience is so different. Now that I’m a senior, it’s all coming to a close. The fact that I get to have a longer season than most is rewarding. It’s important to keep winning and getting deeper into the tournament.”
Krishnan and his sophomore partner Rohan Mohite were one of the top seeds for the state doubles tournament.
They opened with a first-round bye, then defeated Daniel MacGill and Felix Massenet of Summit High in the second round, 6-3, 7-5. They moved one win away from taking on fourth-seeded Andy Li and Rohit Vadodaria of Montgomery High in the quarterfinals.
“I think we really stayed cool and kept our composure,” Krishnan said. “Despite it not being rainy, it wasn’t perfect conditions. The wind was getting to us a little in the beginning. We struggled a bit in our service game. Tennis is about adjusting to conditions. We kept it cool and stayed strong throughout the match. They were a little flustered by the conditions, or maybe our play style, and we kept our composure and didn’t let up too many unforced errors.”
Krishnan had never been past the second round that he reached as a freshman, but he is a far more experienced player now. It helped when he was paired with Mohite, a sophomore who moved up from junior varsity.
The North tandem has lost only three times all season, twice in three-set matches to High School South, and to Delbarton in the Delbarton tournament.
They have really good communication and really good chemistry on the court together,” said Knights coach Albert Paulsson. “They have signals that they use when they’re serving to develop strategy out there on the court. Their volleys have become very strong and they’ve been able to close points well.”
Krishnan was adjusting back having a partner on the court. He’d done it as a freshman, but since then had played first singles and second singles for the Knights.
It took time for them to develop the chemistry. They had not seen much of each other’s play before they were paired together.
“In the beginning it was iffy,” Krishnan said. “I had been playing singles. I had to get used to the doubles mindset. His game play is not super fit for doubles. He’s not super comfortable with net. Over the course of a few matches, we got our game to click and formed a bit more chemistry and we got more comfortable with each other.”
The two figured out a way to blend their strengths into a formidable duo. They complemented each other’s games.
“I tend to have a stronger net game. He has fairly consistent and powerful serve,” Krishnan said. “We use his service game to help. If you have that one game you can hold, it gives you a cushion. And we try to use me at the net. I tried to help him with the signals, whether to poach or not or the direction of the serves. It gave us more organization rather than just going out and hitting balls.”
They were a part of a North team that went 18-4 this season. They reached the semifinals of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state tournament before losing, 3-2, to Princeton High. Both the Knights first doubles and the second doubles of Martin Kong and Nihal Sidhu won their matches while Princeton took the singles to end their state tournament run and a strong season.
“We were happy overall,” Krishnan said. “It’s tough because we set such high expectations of ourselves. We had such high goals. We lost to Millburn in the sectional finals last year and the year before. We lost to Princeton in semifinals. They’re extremely strong. It was a well deserved win.”
Krishnan is one of four seniors whom the Knights will graduate from their lineup. Sai Koritela is the only senior in the singles lineup.
“I think we’re very pleased with the season,” Paulsson said. “I’m proud of the guys. They played hard all season. The matches that we lost have been against very tough opponents, and we never gave up. We fought hard every match. Every match was a good experience for us to get focused on what we do well and try to improve upon the things we need to do for the next time.”
Krishnan and Mohite were thrilled with the success they saw this year. They added to their achievements in the state doubles tournament as Krishnan capped his high school career before he heads to Stevens Institute for four more years of tennis.
“Stevens had a really good year this year,” Krishnan said. “I think they were top 30 in the nation. They also won their conference. They got to play some top teams in the nation, some top D1 teams. Going in there, I’m expecting some really tough matches which will be really fun.”