Acevedo, Garcia pace tennis team

Adrian Acevedo and Adrian Garcia are the Nos. 1 and 2 tennis players at San Benito High. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Adrian Acevedo and Adrian Garcia have come a long way. Even though the two are only in their third year of playing tennis, they’ve ascended to be the Nos. 1 and 2 singles players for the San Benito High boys tennis team. Both players had never picked up a tennis racket until their freshman year, meaning they underwent an accelerated learning curve.

“It’s pretty hard playing the top singles spot because it takes a lot of skills to get up there, and you’re also playing against some great players,” said Acevedo, who played No. 2 and 3 singles last season. “It takes a lot of practice, and that’s what I spent my entire summer doing. It takes a lot of time to be good at this sport.”

Acevedo entered the week with a 4-5 record, relying on a bulldog mentality and strong forehand to achieve success in matches. Garcia was expected to be the team’s No. 3 singles player this year until the team’s original No. 2 player suffered a season-ending injury. Safe to say, it’s been a tough transition for Garcia, who played No. 1 doubles last season and has kept a positive attitude about having to compete out of position.

“Oh my goodness, it’s a whole different world now that I can’t rely on a partner,” Garcia said. “Every missed shot or everything that goes wrong, it’s on me. Even though it’s been tough, it’s been a rewarding experience.”

Haybalers coach Rick Espino said both Acevedo and Garcia’s games are on the rise, and another strong off-season would give them a tremendous boost entering their season season next year.

Garcia said the best match he’s played this season came in a loss to Oakwood on March 27. Garcia feels his backhand shot is pretty strong, but he also has an effective serve. He often tries to hit a shot to force his opponent to hit a backhand, or whatever their weaker side is.

“My serve and forehand is still a work in progress,” Garcia said. “My forehand still needs a lot of work, and that is something I plan on working on a lot so I can improve.”

Acevedo and Garcia both took up tennis in their freshmen year on a recommendation from a friend. Acevedo credits teammate and fellow junior Daniel Bernal for encouraging him to come out for the team. Through hard work and grit, Acevedo has rose to the No. 1 spot and started making an impact when he won his opening match in the Monterey Bay League tournament last year.

Acevedo grew up playing soccer—which he did for five years—before trying out for the football team as a freshman. Neither sport sustained him; however, he’s found his calling with tennis, a sport that at the highest level requires athletes to be in tremendous physical condition, agile and highly skilled.

“I enjoy playing with more advanced people because that is how I will get better,” he said.

Acevedo takes an auto shop class at school and has a passion for fixing cars.

“I love using my hands and working on cars,” he said. “It makes me happy knowing I can fix things even when there are a lot of car parts that are not good. Just being able to work with stuff and make things right, it’s a nice feeling.”

Garcia, who was voted the team captain, is a part of Club Ed, which allows him to tutor students. Garcia said playing tennis has helped him with being more social and outgoing, one of the many benefits sports can provide. Through tennis, Acevedo has developed a steely resolve on the court, always grinding and never wanting to give an inch.

“Sometimes I’m playing guys who have more skills, but I just think about getting the ball in more,” he said. “A lot of times, that works.”

Garcia also takes care of business in the classroom—last year he had a 4.33 GPA. Tennis always poses a great challenge for Garcia, who said the highlight of his season came in a loss to Oakwood.

“Even though I lost, I was hitting the ball so much better,” he said.

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