It’s not that Lawrence High senior Ryan Abbott dislikes playing doubles.
It’s just that, given his druthers, Abbott would rather be more in control of the outcome on the singles side.
“I love playing doubles. Don’t get me wrong,” Abbott said. “I just figure it’s my last hurrah, and I wanted to give singles a shot.”
And in his last hurrah, Abbott has more than proven his ability as the Lions’ new No. 1 singles player. On Friday, Abbott finished in fourth place at the eight-team Lawrence Invite at LHS, helping Lawrence claim fourth overall as a team with 23 points. The Lions’ junior varsity squad placed seventh with 12 points.
For the season, Abbott’s record stands at an impressive 10-5.
“He’s gotten some more confidence,” LHS coach Steve Hudson said. “Now that he’s got this newfound confidence, he’s had more success, and he’s been playing better and better.”
After Abbott spent two seasons on varsity as a doubles-only player, Hudson allowed Abbott the opportunity to play singles for his senior year. This despite the fact that Abbott and fellow co-captain Taylor Seratte qualified for the state tournament in doubles last year.
“I think it’s nice in your senior year to go out playing the tennis you want,” Hudson said. “If you want to play singles or doubles, you should be able to do that.”
The move has allowed several other Lions to flourish as well.
Seratte and Will Conley settled into the No. 1 doubles slot as a result. On Friday, they finished 2-1, good for fifth place.
Byron Varberg and Michael Sang, who occupy the No. 2 doubles position, took fourth at the LHS Invite.
Meanwhile, Thomas Zheng took over the No. 2 singles spot, where he placed fourth Friday.
Abbott, who was wearing his 2008 state tournament T-shirt, said he was grateful for the opportunity Hudson had granted him.
And he thinks this year’s team could be in line to pick up some 2009 state tournament T-shirts as well.
“You want to be playing your best tennis at the end of the year,” Abbott said. “If we haven’t peaked yet, that’s OK, as long as we get there at the end.”