Arlington tennis, a young racket

Ari Fernandez, the Arlington tennis team’s probable number-two singles player, serves. -
Ari Fernandez, the Arlington tennis team’s probable number-two singles player, serves.
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The Arlington boys tennis team is in a rebuilding year, but it’s not without individual bright spots, according to first-year coach Sean Cunningham.

As the former boys assistant and current girls head coach takes over the boys tennis team, Cunningham finds his team has a lot of young faces and some inexperience — either with the sport or with the team’s doubles partners.

“We had a lot of turnover. As a result, in many ways we have a new team,” Cunningham said. “I would anticipate some growing pains to say the least.”

But just as Cunningham’s inexperienced girls team enjoyed modest success behind the inspiration of transfer student and tennis phenom Ivana Krommelova last spring, finishing in the middle of the league pack at 6-9, this Arlington boys tennis team should enjoy some leadership from its top singles players.

Senior Garrett Meyer, a four-year member of the Arlington tennis team, leads the Eagles. Meyer has served the team in a number of roles in past years, including doubles, and has paid his dues, according to his coach. After an off-season characterized by a lot of hard work, lessons and tournament appearances, Cunningham said Meyer is playing on a different level than he has in past seasons and should be a formidable opponent to many of the league’s top singles players.

Joining Meyer in the off-season training is junior Ari Fernandez, who will most likely play second singles for Arlington.

“At this stage of tennis, especially if you’re playing 1 or 2, you have to find a way to increase your play beyond the season. Most of the teams, they’re playing throughout the year,” Cunningham said, adding that teams like Snohomish and Stanwood enjoy elite seasons year after year thanks to club tennis programs that generate tennis skills and interest in the sport.

On the doubles side, Arlington tennis will be pairing a lot of new faces.

“Of the six players in the top three doubles, we only have one player coming back, so all the teams are new,” the coach said. “That’s an unknown for us – our doubles. Doubles is something that we need to concentrate on getting stronger in as the season goes on.”

But despite the youth, Cunningham takes heart from his players.

“I just think what I’m encouraged by is the attitude of the players. They have a hard work ethic. I think they realize it’s going to take time,” he said.

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