Senior tennis player performs well in Central American tournaments

Tyler Graham

In September, Michael Genender ’15 will take his talents to Palo Alto to play tennis for Stanford. In the meantime, Genender is traveling far and wide to compete in national, high-profile tennis tournaments.

Genender’s globetrotting has most recently taken him to tournaments in Costa Rica and Ecuador.

The reigning CIF-SS singles champion is playing these tournaments with the goal of qualifying for Junior Wimbledon and the Junior U.S. Open.

The tournament Genender played in Costa Rica was the Copa del Café, a junior tournament hosted by the International Tennis Federation, where he advanced to the quarterfinals against a field drawing talent from all over the world. Past winners of the event include tennis greats Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer. The tournament took place in early January.

“I played my quarterfinal match in Costa Rica during a night session in front of a packed 2,000-seat stadium,” Genender said. “The match was streamed online and was viewed by a large amount of people. I signed a ton of autographs, and I had to do four interviews after the match. I had never experienced anything like that before, and it was an unbelievable experience.”

In Ecuador, Genender competed in the Ecuador Grade 1 ITF tournament. Genender lost in the round of 64 after qualifying for the tournament by winning three matches.

“Something that was really exciting was being able to compete internationally and represent the United States,” Genender said. “The level of the tournaments is really high and every match is extremely difficult. I know I need to be at the top of my game to put myself in positions to win.”

While Genender’s offseason has been full of excitement, the drawback to his success is the extreme time commitment that a tennis career outside of school requires. However, Genender’s work ethic on the court is matched by his efforts to keep up acaemically off of it.

“I’ve had to focus a hundred percent on my schoolwork whenever I have some free time,” Genender said. “It’s pretty rigorous having to make up so much work on my own, but I’m working really hard.”

Genender, in addition to winning the CIF-SS singles title in his junior season, carried the Wolverine team to a second place finish in the CIF-SS Division I tournament, dropping a 10-8 decision to top-seeded University Irvine in the title match, before also falling to the Trojans in the Southern California semifinals.

In 2015, the senior will be the top singles player for defending league champion Harvard-Westlake, which looks to be a top contender for a CIF-SS Division I title once again.