- April 13, 2021
For Seabreeze’s first-year tennis coach, Trishna Patel, the goal was to build camaraderie and create a team. The result has been an undefeated team — the boys and girls were both 7-0 — after a sweep of Father Lopez on March 3.
“The game plan was to have a lot of joint matches,” she said. “I really wanted the girl and boy athletes to watch and learn from each other. Also, I wanted them to understand how their particular games are different. Marry the two ideas.”
Last year, Seabreeze’s head coach Robert Holtgrewe retired at the end of the season. Patel was encouraged by friends to seek the position, and after navigating the school system requirements, she landed the job. She has been running a local junior tennis program for five years called the Trailblazers and had already been training some of the Seabreeze players. It was a natural fit.
“I want them to get comfortable as friends first. That translates into winning close matches — pulling them out. You actually go the distance for friends in doubles and singles. When we are all fighting for the best of seven points, it’s not any one individual.”
TRISHNA PATEL, Seabreeze tennis coach
“Tennis is a sport of life,” Patel said. “My number one passion is to train student athletes.”
In terms of her experience regarding team tennis, Patel knew what to expect and how she planned to run the team her first season. She attended the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in high school, now known as the IMG Academy, then played Division I tennis at Brown University. In 1997, Brown made its first appearance in the NCAA championships, and the same year, Patel was named Ivy League Player of the Year.
Qualifying for the state championships in April with his team, remains a goal for Seabreeze senior Mac Chiumento. His record this season after the Lopez match was 8-2 with the losses coming in one single and one doubles match against Daksh Talati of University High School. Chiumento’s favorite match this season was a grueling two-and-a-half-hour singles match with Talati.
“I played him in doubles and I was thinking this kid is so good,” he said. “I was down 2-5, came back 6-6 and he ended up winning 8-6. I have to beat this kid. The answer is keep training and get more confidence in myself. That’s 90 percent of it. You’ve got to know you can do it.”
Moving forward, Patel wants her players to gel with each other even more to create a solid foundation for teamwork.
“I want them to get comfortable as friends first,” she said. “That translates into winning close matches — pulling them out. You actually go the distance for friends in doubles and singles. When we are all fighting for the best of seven points, it’s not any one individual.”