Confidence serves Golden Eagle well

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Vignesh Senthilvel's confidence and aggressive play is being displayed on the tennis court this season.

Senthilvel, Mountain Vista's No. 1 singles player, is unbeaten in Continental League matches and his only loss came to Denver East's Kai Smith in the finals of the West Slope Open in Grand Junction.

“I've tried to play a little bit more consistent this season and take a few more risks and I guess that's been an advantage because I've been playing pretty well,” said Senthilvel. “I feel a lot more confident.”

Senthilvel lost only one league match last year and that was to eventual state champion Hayden Sabatka of Highlands Ranch. However, he lost both his matches in the Class 5A state tournament.

“From last year to this year, I definitely feel a lot more confident with how I'm playing,” explained Senthilvel. “Last year I didn't really feel well even though I was winning. This year I'm really feeling well when I'm playing.”

Mountain Vista coach Jim Flanigan has seen a difference in the play of his top player.

“I think that Vignesh's ability to attack his opponent and not just sit back and wait for him to make a mistake has improved dramatically,” said Flanigan. “He also has improved his serves so that his opponent cannot take advantage of it.

“He is a very smart player who always has a game plan. When he was younger he did not always have a game plan when he was playing.”

When he was younger, Senthilvel played soccer.

“I did play soccer a lot but we would always lose,” said Senthilvel. “The reason I like tennis is it's all on you. If you win, you deserve all the credit. If you lose, it is all your fault. You can learn from your mistakes. You don't have to rely on anyone else.”

Senthilvel has a few goals this season.

“I'm hoping I can be first-team all-conference, which is the best record in the league,” he said. “I'm hoping I do well in state, remain healthy, focused and stay true to my game.”

He's worked to develop his game.

“I have worked on my serve,” he said. “I used to double fault a lot and I have cut down on that and that's been a huge improvement for me.

“I've worked on my ground strokes. I typically play from the baseline out. I've been trying to get more aggressive and finish off points earlier, seeing an opportunity and going for it.”

Flanigan has hopes that Senthilvel can be a contender during the postseason.

“I think he should finish the rest of the season as the best player in the Continental League and I believe he is a top-four player in state,” said Flanigan. “Where he will finish at state is up to him. He has worked very hard and I believe that he can do anything he sets his mind to when it comes to tennis and life.”