Rohan Shastri returns to Mounties tennis team
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Rohan Shastri wasn't sure what was next.
By last fall, the Mount Greylock senior had reached No. 1 in the United States Tennis Association's 18-and-under New England rankings, and his national standing had risen as high as 74. He was well on his way to getting into his first-choice school, nearby Williams College. What else was there left to prove?
If all goes according to plan, maybe a state championship with the Mounties.
"This will be different," Shastri said." It's playing for your school, with your friends. This is definitely a team thing. This is not for me, for winning matches. It's purely for helping my school."
Shastri will suit up for Greylock this spring for the first time since his eighth grade year, when he helped the Mounties to the state final. After a couple successful years on the junior tour -- including making it through three rounds at last summer's National Clay Court championships -- the Williamstown resident said he'd met all his goals. It was time to relax and enjoy his senior year.
"I've been going to all the games, football and basketball games [at Greylock]," Shastri, who is expected to play for Williams next year, said. "Everybody comes to watch. There's so much emotion. Being a senior and doing that for your school, and three of my closest friends are on the team."
One of those friends is Jonah Majumder, Greylock's top singles player last year. Majumder led the Mounties to an 11-4 record and the No. 7 seed in the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament in 2012. Greylock lost to eventual Western Mass. champion Lenox, 4-1, in the semifinals.
With Shastri as the Mounties' new projected No. 1, Greylock's depth should be tough to match.
"I think you'd have a hard time finding a team that deep in Western Mass.," Majumder said. "I know that just in terms of Rohan's level, there's few kids in the state that can play with him. The depth, that's going to be really rare."
It's also going to be a boost for the league, said Lenox coach Phil Cohen. He said he understood why Shastri left the high school ranks to play on the junior tour, but having the 18-year-old back will be "great."
"It definitely strengthens the league a lot," Cohen said. "Having a player like Rohan in the league, someone who's going to the Western Mass. [individual] tournament and most likely is going to dominate that whole thing, is good for the league overall."
Shastri said his friends have ribbed him a little about being an overwhelming favorite to win every match this spring. He has the best chance to unseat two-time All-Eagle MVP Tanner DeVarennes in Lee.
Expectations aren't what this "comeback" is about, though. After performing under the pressure to rise up the regional rankings and get into a good school, Shastri just wants to have fun and enjoy a new challenge away from the junior circuit.
"When I was on the court, it was boring," Shastri said. "It was the same guys, the same places. There was nothing new. I thought, ‘Why not just try to practice almost every day as much as I can and try to get better like that?' "