Q&A with 2016-2017 varsity tennis captains: Mari Goldberg, Sara Rabinowitz

Seniors Mari Goldberg and Sara Rabinowitz pose in their tennis uniforms. Goldberg and Rabinowitz are two of the seven seniors on the tennis team. Photo courtesy of Goldberg

Seniors Mari Goldberg and Sara Rabinowitz pose in their tennis uniforms. Goldberg and Rabinowitz are two of the seven seniors on the tennis team. Photo courtesy of Goldberg

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The Williams sisters, Sharapova,  Ivanovic: how about adding a few more female tennis stars to that list?

This year’s varsity tennis team is captained by three seniors: Mari Goldberg, Sara Rabinowitz and Liadan Solomon. The team also includes seniors Halle Jacobs, Annie Moore, Talia Natoli and Marine Yamada.

The Oracle sat down with Goldberg and Rabinowitz to learn more about their season so far.

Why do you play tennis?

Mari Goldberg [MG]: Tennis is a very individual sport, however, I like to make it a team sport. I [enjoy] being a part of and supporting my team.

Sara Rabinowitz [SR]: For me, it’s more than just exercise and being in a school sport; it’s about the connection you build [with the team]. It helps me in all other aspects of life.

How has the season been so far?

SR: We’ve had a few matches and have been doing pretty well. We’re a lot stronger and have a lot of new additions to the team [since last season].

MG: Every match we have, I see all of my teammates improving. It’s really fun to watch as a captain.

SR: We’ve realized that it’s about learning from each match to move forward. We don’t let fear get us down. We try to help each other out more often and [try] to be more determined to play how we want to play, [as] opposed to downplaying.

What does a typical practice look like?

MG: When we get to Barrington [Courts] or UCLA we usually have a ten-minute conversation with our coach. He gives us strategies and mental tips to work on for that day.

SR: [Next we practice] fast exercises and lots of running.

MG: We divide on the courts by skill level and hit.

SR: This year we’ve pushed ourselves to try our best in the exercises so that we mimic that in matches. We’ve realized the importance of stretching and making sure we’re warmed up — so we can play our best.

What are some of the team’s goals for the season?

SR: We hope to not only get closer but help each other out by identifying each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We [hope to] balance each other out and play our best [in each match].

MG: Most people on the varsity tennis team have been on the team for the team for the past three years — so we have a really strong [team] relationship. [We hope] to just support each other and get even closer this year.

What are the coaches’ coaching styles?

MG: Our Head Coach is Keith Coleman. He is very direct and intense; he wants us to do our best. Paula [Feigenbaum] is our assistant coach. She is the nicest person ever and I consider her a second mom.

SR: Our coaches are very passionate. They’re hard on us, but they care for us and want us to do well. They emphasize not just winning, but improving and learning from experience. Lots of times, the coaches will send us videos [of professional tennis games], so we can perfect our own technique to become as versatile as possible.

How does the team bond?

MG: It’s hard to bond on the court, especially in singles matches. I try to look over while playing to see [my teammates] and cheer them on when I can.

SR: Before each match, we sit on the bus and each share what’s on our mind. We bounce off one another and feed off of each other’s energy.

MG: Off the court, we have team dinners and joke around, which is fun.

How do the captains collaborate to help the team?

MG: It’s a tradition on the tennis team for the seniors to be captains. [Being in the same grade], we’ve already worked with each other a lot and been on the team together. We know each other’s strengths, weaknesses and leadership styles, so it’s easy to work together.

SR: We are the role models for the younger girls. They are going to follow in our footsteps, in terms of how to lead. There is not one captain in particular that dominates. I consider myself just as much a part of the team.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the team’s captains were Mari Goldberg, Halle Jacobs, Annie Moore, Talia Natoli, Sara Rabinowitz and Marine Yamada (all ’17). This error has been corrected to state that Mari Goldberg, Sara Rabinowitz and Liadan Solomon (all ’17) are captains.