Player Profile-Abbott '05 gives a spark to men's tennis team

On Amherst’s squad this fall, Abbott played the sixth singles spot and was the only freshman to start in every match. He won his matches against the University of Hartford and against Brandeis University. At Hartford, Abbott lost the first set in that match and came back to win in three sets.

At Brandeis, he quickly eliminated his opponent, winning 6-0, 6-1. He lost his match against the University of Massachusetts.

Overall, the team defeated Brandeis (5-1) and lost against the University of Massachusetts (2-5) and the University of Hartford (3-4).

“I think I’ve been playing pretty well, but that last match I was just plain stupid,” said Abbott, after the team’s defeat at the hands of Hartford.

Although he is only a rookie at Amherst, Abbott began playing tennis at the young age of eight. He played competitively in high school, focusing on tournaments sponsored by the Eastern Tennis Association.

Abbott ended the 2000 season ranked 28th in the east.

“I have played in a lot of tournaments in the past, and I was always decent, but I didn’t really know how to win close matches,” Abbott said. “This past summer changed me a lot, and I began to play a lot of college tournaments and got beat pretty bad. That is when I knew I had to play to win and not necessarily to play well.”

Abbott is already looking forward to putting this knowledge to the test during the men’s spring season. “It will definitely be more intense, since there will be more matches to play.” he said.

Abbott plans to improve his game this winter. “I’m generally happy with my strokes, but my volleys can use some work,” he said. The team should also perform better overall in the spring, with the return of Adam Leibsohn ’03, who is currently abroad, and with David Wellner ’02, who was injured this past season.

“They are really great guys, and they fight in all their matches, making us freshman want to do the same,” he said. “Everyone works through it, no one quits.”

This year the men’s tennis team has more players on the roster than usual, with a record number of seven rookies. Abbott likes having a wealth of freshman on the team.

“Two years from now we will be the core of the team, and that will be really exciting,” he said.

Abbott has his eyes set on defeating Williams College this spring in their perennial grudge match.

“Tennis is not a sport that is dictated by your abilities necessarily, because on any given day you can play the best tennis of your life or the worst tennis of your life,” he said.

“To be good is to keep a winning attitude and just go out there being relentless, despite if you’re playing horribly. Being relentless will allow you to work your way through your problems.”