St. Charles East junior Matt McCarthy has been in the Saints’ varsity tennis lineup since freshman year, moving up from third doubles as a freshman to second doubles as a sophomore to No. 1 doubles this season alongside George Spoerl.
The Saints boast a pair of dominant singles players in Jasper Koenen and Justin Bowman but need help elsewhere in the lineup this weekend at the Upstate Eight Conference Tournament.
In this week’s Weekend Chit-chat with Chronicle sports editor Jay Schwab, McCarthy touches base on his more prominent spot in the lineup this season, his rapport with Spoerl and his late-season goals. The following is an edited transcript:
How big of a difference does it feel like, competition-wise, from No. 2 (doubles) to No. 1 this year?
There’s definitely a big jump in difficulty between players from second to first and third to first.
The kids that play now are definitely more skilled than I’m used to playing with from last year and the year before that.
What was the process like of developing chemistry with George?
We’ve known each other since my freshman year, so we’ve been friends and then we’ve been hitting over summers so we’ve been building our chemistry for a while now.
Do you consider yourself to be a natural doubles guy or did that takes some getting used to?
Before I played high school tennis, I played mostly singles but once I started playing doubles, the transition from singles to doubles was pretty good.
What do your consider your guys’ role on the team?
I would say just making sure that we’re keeping our head up and playing out the points as best we can.
Is one of you guys more emotional than the other out there?
I can tend to be a little more emotional, if it happens.
Do you consider that more of a strength or a weakness?
It can go both ways, honestly.
I know doubles is your focus, but do you enjoy watching guys like Jasper and Justin do their thing out there?
Yeah, I definitely feel like I can learn a lot from just watching them play.
With the stretch run of the season here, what are you hoping to get out of the last couple weeks?
I’m just hoping we can play well and then get ready for conference and then later on sectionals and see if we can make a run at state.
How often do you need a new racquet? How long does one usually last you?
My racquets have been lasting me for a little bit over a year … as long as my strings stay intact.
They’ll pop sometimes but other than that, I’ve been using the same racquet for all season here.