As the tennis players from Indio and Palm Desert walked onto the Rajahs’ home courts, the result of Tuesday’s dual Desert Valley League match had all but been decided as the Aztecs’ cars rolled into the parking lot. Yes, years ago, David did take down Goliath, and but even with Palm Desert’s top players taking a rest or competing in the Easter Bowl miles down the road, an upset wasn’t likely.
It didn’t mean both teams should skip the opportunity to get better, though, even as Palm Desert swept Indio 18-0.
But how do you focus on improving when both you and your opponent know you’re going to win the moment you step on the court?
“I work on my weaknesses, things I can improve on,” said Palm Desert sophomore Alex Kuperstein, who was playing No. 1 singles for the Aztecs Tuesday. “I know I’ll still win, so it’s good to work on your weaknesses while you can keep focus, and probably the best thing you can do is not mess around. It’s like a serious practice, and you try to get it over as fast as you can.”
Kuperstein, normally half of a No. 1 doubles tandem with Brad Cummins – one who expects to contend for a CIF title – played in the No. 1 singles spot Tuesday, winning 6-0, 6-0, 6-1. Ethan Weiss (No. 2 singles) and Quinn Bush (No. 3 singles) won each of their sets as well, dropping a combined five games.
Even after the Rajahs are eliminated early in the DVL tournament each year, they come back the next day to watch the Palm Desert players duel each other for CIF tournament berths, he added.
For both teams, in dominating victories or embarrassing losses, there’s always something to learn if the players are motivated to get better.
“We try to teach these guys foot work, just to try to do better every single match,” Lopez said. “Improve what you can improve.”