Spotlight: Ishaan Rao

Xiang Zhang, Copy Editor

If you’ve recently walked around the middle school hallways, you will have undoubtedly noticed the presence of new seventh grader Ishaan Rao. Though many will likely know him for his love for math and the violin, or his titanic aura and incisive personality, those on the tennis team will also know him for something else: his status as the best tennis player in Seabury history.

“My dream would be to go pro, but I would love also, if I failed at that, to go D-1 or something,” says Rao. “I love playing tennis…when I was seven, my mom wanted me to exercise, but it kinda ended up becoming something else, becoming more competitive,” he says. “Maybe two summers in…I was hitting with a group that was way better than me, but then the summer after that, I reached that level, and then Coach Jared [who also coaches Seabury’s middle school team] started really believing in me.”

Since then, Rao has established himself as one of the best U-12 players in the state, and achieved a rank of 121st in the nation. Earlier this month, Rao visited Arizona to compete in an L-1, the highest level USTA junior tournament available. “It was fun being in Tucson, competing, seeing the best players in the country play…I played really well,” he says. “It’s fun and tough, because your mind just has to keep on getting better and better. There’s always flaws; you always have to get better but knowing that you can compete with some of the best players in the country is really encouraging.”

Though Rao’s skills have far eclipsed the level of middle school tennis, this might just be Seabury’s year to win the City Tournament, the tennis team’s capstone end-year competition. “[I’m not going] to the practices, but Jared told me I should go to the City tournament to prove my dominance over all those [people].” Needless to say, the future of Seabury tennis is bright.