When Syosset High School’s Kabir Rajpal walks onto the tennis court, the only thing that matters to him is winning. He knows how to get into the mind of his opponent, and that’s what a varsity tennis player needs to do in order to excel.
“First off, I try and not show any emotion,” Rajpal said. “I don’t want to give my opponent anything to work with. I observe everything about the opponent, like the way he walks, certain patterns and stuff like that because you can learn a lot about the way they play over a two to three-hour match.”
The junior is one of the leaders for the Braves. Even while taking his sophomore year off to sharpen his skills and train with a private coach, Rajpal is considered one of the best boys tennis players in Nassau County. He was just named to the All-State team.
While playing at the varsity level in the eighth grade, Rajpal qualified for the state tournament, finishing third in a remarkable debut. Ever since, he’s climbed through the rankings and is already preparing for his future.
“I’m looking at Division I options,” he said. “I’m just going on visits, talking to a lot of coaches right now and weighing all my options. I’m putting into perspective what I’m looking for, but I definitely want to play Division I.”
Thus far into the 2019 season, Rajpal is 10-0. Overall, he’s 44-0. The undefeated record is not only one that’s required a high skill level, but plenty of mental toughness as well.
“It’s tough obviously, especially when you’re playing singles,” he said. “But our team is really good.”
Led by head coach Shai Fisher, Rajpal believes that he is on the right path. Fisher keeps the young tennis star on track, giving him advice on the court and off of it.
“Kabir is definitely one of the most athletic, hard working, committed and talented players to go through the Syosset High School tennis program,” Fisher said. “But what makes Kabir stand out even more is his ability to instill confidence in each and every one of his teammates. His presence not only raises the level of play at matches.
Now, it’s up to Rajpal to determine his future. If he remains undefeated, it will likely lead to a scholarship at a top institution.
“In the same amount of training hours as someone else, I put in more mental focus into certain things that other people may not do,” Rajpal said. “In general, I put more hours on court, like early mornings and late nights.”