Capuchino High’s Roy Zabala has been a key part of a Mustangs’ boys tennis program that is in its first year. The freshman has drawn praise from coach Richard De Leon for his “infectious” and “relentless” determination to get better. Zabala’s attitude and on-court efforts helped result in Cap’s breakthrough win over Oceana a week ago.
San Bruno Patch caught up with Zabala to hear about his experiences as a freshman playing on varsity.
Patch: How did joining tennis affect your high school work?
Roy Zabala: When I first joined the tennis team it was hard to finish my homework because of all the time tennis practice took, but I eventually caught up and found a balance.
Patch: How did it feel to join a team that seniors and freshmen can join alike? Was it intimidating?
Zabala: Well, since there is only one senior and one junior on the team, I wasn't really intimidated. The thing is is that they were nice to me and we became friends.
Patch: What are the coaches like -- aggressive, strict?
Zabala: Coach Rich is well, um, well he is a good coach. Although he was strict he did teach us a lot of technique. Coach Alfonso was really strict but in the end he taught us a lot of things. He told us how tennis makes you you.
Patch: How do you feel you stack up against the rest of your team?
Zabala: Since I joined late in the season, I feel pretty confident in my style of playing and the rank I am in. I am in first doubles. I started the season in last place as far the tennis ladder goes.
Patch: Who on your team do you feel is your biggest competition?
Zabala: Mark Kaufman, because he has been playing tennis for eight years now. He has actually complimented me on my techniques, which I feel confident about. I practice more and more in hopes to beat him next year.
Patch: What drove you to your first victory in doubles against Oceana? Who was responsible for the win?
Zabala: I put in my own time and effort to better my serve and learn now to hit the ball correctly. After I started getting better at serving, my teammate in doubles and I started to win. It was definitely a team effort -- we each did our own part.
Patch: What are you going to do to make more students at your school want to join tennis?
Zabala: Even though we have enough players on the team, I am still going to use Facebook to try and get more students on board.
Patch: How are the ladies responding to you playing tennis?
Zabala: Hahaha. Um, they come visit us during the games, that's about it.
Patch: Most people think watching tennis on TV is boring, but what do you think?
Zabala: It was boring to me at first but now that I play it, watching it on TV is more entertaining.
Patch: What is the perception of tennis on campus?
Zabala: It's not widely known but we are trying to get it there.