In college tennis, sophomore players are rarely considered veterans.
They are typically among the youngest players on any team, primarily due to the commanding presence of a large group of upperclassmen.
That’s not the case with Penn men’s tennis’ Jeremy Court.
On a team that returned only three members from last year’s squad, Court fits the description of a veteran in every way.
“There are only three of us left over from last season and we’ve got a really young team,” Court said. “As a sophomore, I’m actually one of the older guys now and it’s a good experience to be around the younger guys and set a good example.”
During his spring rookie campaign in 2011-12, Court led the Quakers in singles victories. The New Rochelle, N.Y. native compiled a 22-6 record in singles matches, which included six wins in seven matches against Ivy League opponents.
“[Leading the team in victories last year] was nice — I had a good year,” Court said. “I felt like coming into college I had a pretty good junior career and I just wanted to keep getting better and better every single match.”
Court’s position in Penn’s lineup was low at the beginning of his freshman season until his on-court performances began to speak for themselves.
“When he came in as a freshman, he started kind of low in the lineup and it took us awhile to realize just how good this kid was,” coach David Geatz said. “And he kept playing well and eventually moved up higher in the lineup.
“And now, as a sophomore, he’s definitely one of the best guys on our team.”
As a result of his early success, Court entered his sophomore season with plenty of momentum and a confidence level unmatched by his opponents.
“To get off to a good start right away in my college career was definitely helpful for my confidence going forward,” Court said. “My strength is that when I’m playing well, I can be pretty consistent and that can lead to even bigger things.”
That confidence and consistency showed from the very first match of the spring season. After dropping four of six matches in the fall, Court kicked off his spring slate with five consecutive victories, including three wins from the top position in the lineup.
“He got used to playing matches higher up in the lineup at the end of last year, so it was an easy transition for him from his freshman to his sophomore season,” Geatz said.
But this season has nonetheless provided Court with plenty of obstacles. After a hot start to the spring, the sophomore has dropped his last five matches and tendinitis in his arm has kept him from traveling to Penn’s matchup with VCU last weekend.
“Right now, I’m not playing as consistently as I would like, so I’m trying to get back to where I was last year,” Court said. “We’ve got two weeks leading into Ivies, and I have two important weeks of practice coming up.”
Geatz also has concerns about Court’s recent rough stretch. But he also knows that now is not the time to panic.
“Around this time last year, he took some bad losses that were kind of inexplicable and the same thing seems to be happening again this year,” Geatz said. “But around that same time he also started to go on a bit of a run heading into the Ivies, right when he started climbing up the lineup and playing really well.”
As the season continues for the Red and Blue, Court will continue to try and find consistency in his play, while offering guidance to his team off the court when needed.
“The Ivy League season goes really fast,” Court said. “The goal is to keep having good practices and be able to build up some momentum and confidence moving forward.”
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