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Tuesday, Dec 5, 2023

Seven Questions with Aidan Harris ’23, men’s tennis

Aidan Harris ’24 returns a shot during a game for the Panthers. COURTESY OF MIDDLEBURY ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Aidan Harris ’24 returns a shot during a game for the Panthers. COURTESY OF MIDDLEBURY ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Aidan Harris ’24, from Indianapolis, Ind., is a sophomore on the men’s tennis team. Harris plays both doubles and singles, and aims to lead the Panthers to the NCAA tournament this May. In this installment of “Seven Questions,” Harris discusses his beginnings with tennis, his aspirations for the season and his pre-match rituals. 

Captain Rudolph: How did you get started playing tennis in Indianapolis?

Aidan Harris: I actually started playing tennis for the first time when I was five years old. In seventh grade, I started focusing on tennis as my primary sport, and I actually got really lucky that one of the best coaches in the country was from Indianapolis. He had coached a two-time doubles grand slam champion. His presence attracted people from all over the Midwest to come train with him. So, I was very lucky to have him because he really helped me grow as a player along with the many other strong competitors in the Indianapolis area. 

CR: What’s a funny or weird pre-match ritual you have?

AH: After every point I’ll either go to the towel, I’ll adjust my hat or I’ll fix my shorts. And if I win the point I’ll do those things an even number of times. So, I’ll either do zero or two of them, and if I lose the point, I’ll either do one or three of them, so an odd number. It’s really weird, but it’s a good way for me to forget what happened during the last point and to reset no matter the outcome.

CR: What dining hall meal is your favorite?

AH: General Tso’s Chicken… easily! A full plate with rice and General Tso’s Chicken is the best dinner after a long practice. And maybe a little broccoli to try to get some healthy food in there, but it’s only a little bit of broccoli, that’s for sure.

CR: What are your aspirations for the season ahead?

AH: First of all, everyone’s super fired up to play this season because the seniors are the only ones that have gotten the chance to compete in a spring season before. Just getting the chance to compete in the dual match format is exciting because I love the team format where I get to play next to my teammates and friends. Our goal every year is to build a national championship team. Our coach makes the distinction between actually winning a national championship and a national championship team. Every team wants to be champion and obviously that’s a great goal that we have, but more importantly, we’re going to focus on putting in all the work that’s expected to become a national championship caliber team. We want to make sure we look back at the season and have no regrets. So, we’re excited to see where the season takes us, because the sky is the limit.

CR: If you were to play a different sport at Midd, what would you want it to be?

AH: Golf. My senior year [of high school] I played with my brother who was on our golf team. I couldn’t get enough of it — within two months, I had already gotten a lot better. Tennis is an individual sport, so some of the characteristics translate over to golf, like learning to handle adversity. Also, it’s awesome to play individually for the sake of the team which is also an element of golf. I love golf, I could play it all day, every day.

CR: What’s your secret studying spot on campus?

AH: I usually go in the library to the carrels up the stairs and off to the side. I like working in a space where I can lock in and not be surrounded by too many people because I can get distracted easily by talking to friends. I hope this answer doesn’t make it not-so-secret or else I’ll have to find a new spot.

CR: If you were to be sponsored by one restaurant in town, which would you want it to be?

AH: I would definitely pick Mr. Ups. It’s the first restaurant I went to in town, and it’s a tennis team favorite. Can’t ever go wrong with some maple bbq thumbs and toes and a cookie skillet for dessert.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

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