This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published June 7, 2018
Nick Cristante has made a rapid rise up the ranks with the North Haven boys’ tennis team. After starting off as the Indians’ No. 4 singles player as a freshman, Nick saw some time at both No. 1 and 2 singles in his sophomore season last spring. This year, Nick was promoted to the No. 1 singles position and played his way to a great campaign.
Nick finished with a record of 10-8 at No. 1 singles, including a victory in the Class L State Championship. He also made the All-SCC Team for his excellent play throughout the season.
“I was actually really proud of myself when I look at the end of the year record,” says Nick. “My record saw me beating the No. 1 from Fairfield Prep, who was ranked in the State Tournament, so I was really proud of that. I made All-Area for my division, and to make states with my teammates was a big accomplishment for me. I’m just really proud of my record.”
Nick recorded a statement victory when he defeated Fairfield Prep’s Peter Haley by the score of 6-4, 4-6, 12-10 back in April. North Haven Head Coach Don Hurley notes that Nick tends to play at his peak when he goes up against top-tier opponents.
“When he’s playing a stronger player, he raises his level of play to that of his opponent. He plays his best when he’s playing the best players in the SCC,” Hurley says. “He is a go-getter. He goes after everything and never quits.”
Nick spent plenty of extra time on the court to get ready for his junior season. He made sure to work on the things that he’d need be successful when playing the top spot in the Indians’ lineup.
“I had a really good private coach over the summer,” Nick says. “We worked on putting the ball away, serves, and just moving on the court—all the main skills I’d need if I’m playing the No. 1 singles spot.”
Nick played some doubles prior to joining the high-school squad, but he knew that the singles court was the place for him. Nick likes having the responsibility on his shoulders and will dig deep in order to gut out a victory.
“I like it more, because it’s counting on myself. I know I have to be the one to get to the ball. There’s nobody to rely on but myself,” says Nick. “I know it’s all up to me, and I made the decision on my own. I’m ready for it.”
Coach Hurley says that one of Nick’s biggest strengths is his ability to extend points and tire out his opponent as a match goes on. Nick has no problem doing that, although he also likes to hit some winners.
“I think keeping the ball in play has been a pretty good skill I’ve acquired, but I’m also good at knowing when to put the ball away,” says Nick. “Those are both two areas that I’m good in.”
Nick’s performance at No. 1 singles helped North Haven qualify for states for the fifth straight year this spring. Looking to his senior season, Nick wants to step up as a leader and put together an even better record for his tight-knit team.
“I’m really hoping I can improve my record next year and I’m also hoping to play in college, even if it’s just club. I just want to continue playing since I love this sport so much,” says Nick. “I just want to thank my team and our coach. They’re always there for support and to cheer me on. It’s great that we have such a great connection and teamwork.”