After scoring a point against Mountain House, Isaac Pham and Connor Ikeda high five each other. Photo by Mila Kljajin.
After scoring a point against Mountain House, Isaac Pham and Connor Ikeda high five each other. Photo by Mila Kljajin.
Mila Kljajin

Men’s varsity tennis doubles partners reflect on their tennis season

The dynamic duo talks about their outstanding past tennis season being doubles partners while balancing their schoolwork. Pham and Ikeda take on obstacles on and off the court. Both take AP classes and manage to be successful in their extracurriculars as well. 


Pham first started playing tennis when he was 15 years old, after being inspired by his friends to join the tennis team. Pham and Ikeda have been doubles partners for almost their whole senior season and have a record of 11 wins and two losses. 


“Tennis is not all physical, it’s also mental,” Pham said.


To maintain his pristine form, Pham practices five-to-six times a week for three hours and recommends future tennis players to consistently practice and play matches. On top of practicing on the court, Pham also goes to the gym every day. 


“When I step on the court, I feel like all my problems just go away when I’m playing,” Pham said. 


Pham said tennis is a big part of his life. He has gained a lot of friends from the sport and it has helped him mentally as well.  His advice to young aspiring tennis players is to stay calm and have confidence in their skills.


“I prefer doubles because that way I can play with one of my best friends, Connor and we make a great team together,” Pham said.


Pham wears Aces tennis shoes and plays with a Yonyx tennis racket. Pham has been on the school team his junior and senior year. 


“I get to play with my friend, Isaac and we have a strong connection together,” said Ikeda.


Ikeda first picked up a racket when he was 12 years old and began playing when he joined a summer camp. After that, he met his Coach, Tom Isaac, who inspired him to keep playing despite not being that good in the beginning. As Ikeda improved, he said tennis became enjoyable and something he looked forward to. Ikeda has been playing on the men’s varsity tennis team for four years.


“It’s a lot of fun to play with friends and Isaac and I have a good connection,” Ikeda said.


During the season. Ikeda practices five to six days a week with Pham at the tennis courts at Whitney or by the Nugget Plaza. 


Ikeda recommends future tennis players to watch a lot of YouTube videos and have patience when beginning their tennis journey. As well as watching others play, he also advises to keep practicing, regardless of how good or bad they are when they start playing.  


“Our strategy is to come up to the net after serving or receiving and make a wall in front of the net to finish out the point within three hits,”


With the year coming to an end and Ikeda and Pham moving on to the next chapter in their lives. Tennis has truly made an impact on their lives and even if they don’t pursue tennis professionally the lessons they’ve learned will stay with them always.


“Playing with Isaac is like having an extension of your own body, I can trust him to get the balls he needs to get and vice versa, he can trust me too. It’s like having one person as two players,” Ikeda said.


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