On the Record with Jeff Rodgers

by Trevor Skanes
Sophomore Jeff Rodgers has been playing tennis since he was nine and is now in his second year on the varsity tennis team. Rodgers won the Union County Championship in first singles on April 19, becoming the first Raider to win the county conference since 2007. His record so far this season is 26-3.
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When you made the varsity tennis team as a freshman, did you feel like you needed to prove yourself?
It was cool making varsity. I felt like I had to improve since I was now part of a team and people were depending on me.
What element of your game do you work on the most?
Currently, I am working on my forehand because it is the weakest aspect of my game. My goal is to constantly improve because I am obsessed with getting better and performing at my highest level.
What part of your game do you believe is your strength?
I feel as if my mental toughness is my strength because I always perservere. I try not to over-think my upcoming match by complicating things. Keeping it simple is key.
Why do you prefer singles over doubles?
I prefer singles because it challenges me to work on my problems on my own. The hardest problem to overcome is to win when I am playing poorly. The most important matches are when I am not playing at my best and still have to find a way to win.
Do you set expectations for yourself before a season begins?
I try to set goals every time I go on the court. Before each season I set goals and once I achieve them, I set new goals. My goal this season was to win the Union County Championship. Now my goal is to beat my record from the previous season of 24-7.
Before a match, what kind of a mindset do you have?
I try to be as calm and relaxed as possible. I also try to be positive. The night before the Union County Championship I was nervous but when the match was about to start, I was too focused to be nervous. I had worked too hard for that opportunity to be nervous.
 Is tennis something you want to continue in college?
I hope to play Division I tennis in college. Some colleges I am looking at are Boston College, College of Charleston and  Davidson College.
 Do you think tennis is underappreciated at the high school?
I feel like tennis is an under appreciated sport everywhere. Success is the primary thing that will change that. It is a lot of fun to play, and the better one gets, the more fun it is.