by BEN RICHARDSON - Tennis star Harrison Sindelar (12) discusses his recent win in a statewide competition.
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Sep. 18, 2019) - Westfield’s own Harrison Sindelar (12) earned the title of IndyStar Athlete of the Week. It was a highly contested poll via the news publisher's website, but the community rallied behind its tennis star to put him over the edge. Nominee finalists will be invited to the fourth-annual IndyStar Sports Awards, May 5 at Butler's Clowes Memorial Hall.
Q: What were your first thoughts to being nominated?
A: I thought the result was amazing. I would like to thank everyone who voted, and thank my parents for helping me out.
Q: Who nominated you?
A: Evan Cummings (9) nominated me.
Q: How intense was the online voting?
A: It was close. I was winning, but at one point a guy from Brebeuf was beating me by a lot, but I came back. My opponents were from Brebeuf, Greenfield Central, and Martinsville--all over Indiana. I used Instagram, Facebook, and I was thankful for a Westfield group chat on Facebook that posted the page and helped me win.
Q: Do you remember your best moments from the season so far?
A:My favorite moment is whenever I hit a really nice dropshot, or when I come back after losing a set and I come back and beat the kid.
Q: What lessons have you learned from tennis? How has it helped you grow?
A: Tennis has helped me grow more mentally than I think physically, because mentally when I used to play soccer I would break down sometimes because I would get so frustrated during my games. During [tennis] matches I still get angry, but I don’t break down so easily. I kind of just let it out on the court or bury it deep down. It’s whatever I decide in the moment, to be honest.
Q: What’s your go-to statement you say to yourself to mentally prepare you for a match?
A: I constantly say to myself, ‘I’m gonna keep the ball in and not let them get any points.’ Like I said, tennis is a very mental sport. A lot of times we [as a team] just talk… a lot. This year, I’m more mentally prepared than ever, and more physically prepared as well. I’ve been playing singles for four years now, so I know how [singles] is even though last year I played doubles. What I also do is I take these electrolyte capsules that dissolve in water, so I cut out the unneeded sugar in Gatorade or drinks like that.
Q: Who’s your biggest competition right now?
A: Right now in our conference, our biggest competition is probably Fishers, who we lost to recently 3-2. That was our first loss. Our biggest overall opponent is probably Carmel because we eventually have to play them in sectionals.
Q: If I asked you to rank your shots from favorite to least favorite, could you do it?
A: I have to say, my backhand is probably is my favorite because I’ve worked with it more than my forehand. My backhand slice is really good too. I had a pro who used to just keep hitting my backhand for an entire year. Then forehand, then volleys, forehand slice, overhand, and last and definitely least, my serve.
Q: Which pro tennis player serves as your role model?
A: Dustin Brown. He’s known for his tricky movements-- for doing the abnormal. He’s a lot like Federer, but I feel like everyone likes Federer. [Dustin Brown] isn’t a bandwagon top-ranked player, and I like that.
Q: Do you have anything tennis-wise you’d like to address to the student body before we go?
A: You can and should come to tennis matches. It’s free--I don’t even know how much a football game costs. We’re top five in the state right now. We’ve lost one, and it was to Fishers. We’ll probably be seventh in the state.
Westfield lost to Carmel Oct. 3 in their first sectionals match 5--0, but the 2019-2020 team ranked highest in Westfield’s recent history.