Athletes of the Issue: Phil Schmitt: Terrific Tennis Player
Phil Schmitt ’18, co-captain of this year’s Varsity Boys Tennis Team, has long inspired others on and off the tennis court through his skill and outgoing demeanor. At the age of five, Schmitt’s grandfather pushed him towards tennis-- putting this year’s co-captain on the path to where he is today.
With Schmitt on the team since freshman year, Hopkins has been crowned New England Champions twice in the last three years. Alex Zhang ’19, commented on Schmitt’s on-court prowess: “Phil drives for the team’s success; he is confident, experienced, and an extremely hard worker.”
However, Schmitt’s dexterity with a racquet hasn’t always been a given. Reflecting on his early tennis career, Schmitt said, “[I] was very bad. However, sticking with it got me the results I eventually wanted.” This relentless nature has stayed with him ever since. Schmitt remembered a time in his freshman year when the team was playing Rye Country Day School, with the score knotted at three. Schmitt, playing doubles with James Schaefer ’19, “lost the first set but came back to win, guaranteeing us the regular season FAA championship.”
While Schmitt is a great tennis player, his personality makes him a natural team leader. John Hui, ‘21, said of Schmitt, “Phil strives to help his teammates, whether it is giving advice about our game or cheering us on the sidelines.” Zhang also remarked on Schmitt’s intangibles. “Everyone loves Schmitt. He is friendly, funny, and supportive. He’s the type of guy you can’t help but smile and say ‘Hi’ to when passing by.” Coach Alex Werrell said of Schmitt, “As a captain, Schmitt works hard to foster camaraderie among the players. Tennis is an individual sport most of the time, but Schmitt helps make it clear that we are a team that is in it together.”
As to his hopes for this season, Schmitt was adamant that Hopkins stay atop the FAA throughout the season, win some of their “upset matches,” and finally qualify for New Englands yet again. Schmitt hopes to play club tennis in college.