Geneva junior tennis standout Nick Huang is playing No. 1 singles during weekday dual meets and No. 1 doubles alongside Ryan Doeckel at weekend tournaments in preparation for the postseason. Chronicle sports editor Jay Schwab caught up with Huang for this week’s Weekend Chit-chat, in which Huang touched base on his preferred playing surface, the perils of wind and an upcoming matchup he’s highly anticipating. The following is an edited transcript:
Do you have a particular stroke you consider to be your forte?
I actually like my backhand. I think that’s probably my favorite shot in tennis.
I don’t know, I just feel like I have more control over it. I always think it’s a stroke a lot of opponents think can be my weaker side. I’ve always just really liked the backhand.
Who’s the toughest player you’ve faced this year?
Well, I think the toughest player – well, I haven’t played him yet – but I would say the toughest player is going to be Jasper Koenen from St. Charles East. I will play him later in the year, actually in a couple weeks. He’s a junior just like I am, but he went to state for singles his freshman year, and he’s an absolutely unbelievable player. I really look forward to the chance to play him later this year. I’m very excited.
Who’s been your biggest influence from a tennis standpoint?
I would say probably my former coach. His name is John Kinst. He has been my coach since I’ve ever picked up a tennis racket. He was one who introduced me to the sport when I was probably around 5 years old. He’s definitely been there throughout my whole tennis career and it’s really been great to have him as a coach, kind of guiding me along. He was one who really made the foundation of my game and who also sparked the interest I’ve had in the sport.
Are windy days more of a challenge physically or mentally?
I would say probably more mentally. Obviously, it has its physical challenges, but I think a lot of tennis players tend to be a little bit more timid when it’s windy outside and they start to kind of lose confidence in their strokes. When that happens, you kind of tighten up, and then some of those bigger points in the match, it’s a lot harder to take advantage of them because of the wind, so definitely mentally.
If you could pick any surface for Geneva’s tennis courts, what would it be?
I would pick clay surface, and the reason being, I’m a lefty, so I love the lefty spin. Sometimes it’s a new look I guess for your opponent, so on clay it acts up more. It has more of an effect on your opponent than on a hard court, so I guess I would consider it more of an advantage to play on a clay court.
Have you had the chance to have much experience somewhere on clay?
I actually have. I used to play in a club called Cantigny. It’s actually right down in Wheaton. They used to have clay courts there. I played there for probably three, four years back four or five years ago and unfortunately they tore them down because they had a golf course and they needed more space.