The Portland State men’s tennis team has had a rough season as far as the wins are concerned. There has, however, been a vast improvement in individual play, such as that by junior Kapil Desai.
Desai is the No. 2 player on the Vikings team this season. He has the most wins logged for the team at five in singles matches and one in doubles play.
“I’ve become a more competitive player with more experience,” Desai said.
Desai came to PSU as a transfer from the University of Portland. Before he was playing tennis as a Pilot, Desai played in his hometown of Nanoose, British Columbia. There, he went to the Balleras Secondary School where he fine-tuned his tennis skills.
Canadian tennis was a little different than here in the States, Desai explained. The seasons were a lot shorter, consisting of very few meets.
“We only played three or four matches in one month,” the junior said.
Kapil got into tennis the way many athletes get involved with sports: through friends and family. Desai’s main influence came from his father and older sister who both played in tournaments around B.C.
“I saw them playing and thought it looked fun,” Desai said.
Desai continued to play throughout all four years of high school and earned several awards in the process. In ninth and 12th grades he won the Singles Award for his excellent season. He also won the Doubles Award in between those in his 11th grade year.
When Kapil was not playing for his high school he played for the West Wood Racquet Club. At the club Desai was coached by a pro trainer, as well as by his father.
Upon graduating from Balleras Secondary School, Kapil wanted to continue to play tennis and try it at the college level. He first attended U of P and realized that he would get more of an opportunity to play at Portland State.
In the fall of 2000 Desai transferred to PSU where he work his way the number two position.
This season Desai’s toughest match came early against Denver, where he was defeated by Hans Peter Gaber, 6-0, 6-4. By far Desai’s longest match was against UC Riverside’s Walt Hearn. The match lasted a grueling four hours.
“It was completely unreal. Most matches only last an hour and a half,” Desai explained.
Desai ended up outlasting his Riverside opponent, winning, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. Desai hopes to continue his strong play into his matches in Florida.
“We’re going to Florida, and that will be a lot of fun. I have to keep finding a way to improve my game and continue working hard,” Desai said.