Michael Sienko knows exactly who to thank for getting him started in tennis.
“When I was younger, I always wanted to do what my brother was doing, and at the time, he was playing tennis,” Sienko said.
But what started as emulation has turned into domination. So far in his senior year at Williamston, Sienko has won his first 21 matches, dropping just two sets along the way.
“He can take care of himself on the court,” Williamston head coach Jennifer Nalepa said. “A lot of his matches, I can just stand in the background and watch, and help the rest of the team instead.”
When Sienko first got to high school, his brother, Peter, was there waiting for him. With Michael a freshman and Peter a senior, it would be the only year the two would play together.
“It was probably my favorite year of all four years,” Michael said.
While his brother may no longer be a part of the team, Michael has not lost his enthusiasm for going to practice and being with his teammates.
“Instead of it being an individual sport, I like to help my teammates and try to make them better,” Sienko said.
And his teammates could not be happier to have someone leading the way like Sienko.
“He’s a great model for the rest of the team, especially the underclassmen,” Nalepa said. “They look up to him.”
While Sienko’s high school career is almost over, his tennis career will continue. He’s considering playing at Army (where his brother plays), Air Force, Michigan State and Detroit Mercy.
Although his father is a two-star general, his brother is at Army and his sister is in the Navy, Sienko is not feeling any pressure from his family to choose a certain school.
“I couldn’t ask for better parents,” he says. “Lots of parents live through their kids. Mine have always been supportive.”
If he does wind up in West Point, he has one goal he would still like to accomplish.
I don’t think I ever beat my brother,” Sienko says. “Hopefully the day comes when I can.”