A quick rise through the tennis ranks at Kenmore West
In his first season of varsity with the Kenmore West Blue Devils tennis team Atallah, a freshman, has seen a quick rise through the ranks of the program as he won the job of second singles in his first season with the team.
"I was really hoping to do good," Atallah said with a smile. "But I really didn't play that great on the first day and it wasn't that good of a first impression. But other than that I started playing pretty good."
Pretty good indeed as Atallah has fashioned an 8-3 record at second singles.
Often playing with his father, Bill, young Nick is following in the footsteps of his older sisters Elizabeth and Meghan, who both played for Mt. St. Mary Academy.
More than holding his own this season Atallah is in a perfect position. Playing second singles allows him to face quality competition day after day that will push him to get better.
But at the same time he isn't overwhelmed by the opposition as he might be if he were slotted in at first singles.
"He's getting that experience of playing on a varsity team without having the pressure of being No.1,
because No.1 can create a lot of pressure for some," said Blue Devils coach Lisa Siegel ."He's handled every match with maturity...and he's only going to grow."
Atallah agrees that playing second singles has afforded him the perfect opportunity to build his confidence and learn each day while still helping the team to win.
"Yeah I really like it," he said. "I think I'm playing good, but if I was playing first singles I definitely would
have been really overwhelmed and I wouldn't have been able to play. So second is really good. It's hard, but
it's not too tough or too easy."
Atallah was also quick to thank his teammates, especially Niko Mancuso, for helping him improve each day.
"It really helps me having Niko as captain because he's helped me a lot," Atallah said ."It's good playing with someone like him because we're so evenly matched and he really improved my game a lot. That really helped me do better this year."
Even more so Atallah is grateful for the way the older guys welcomed him onto the team. The way the other players made Atallah feel at home enabled him to relax and play his best without feeling as if he was being a threat to anyone else's position on the team.
"It definitely helps me feel more welcomed," Atallah said. "I guess if they didn't I would have felt so alone
on the team and wouldn't have played as (well) as I do right now. Now I feel welcomed and I feel I can talk
to the people on the team."
Combined with young veterans like Mancuso (first) and Radomir Pupovac (third), who are both sophomores, the Blue Devils have a core of youth at singles that can compete now, but still have time to improve and grow as players.
While Atallah clearly has the raw talent to succeed coach Siegel said what she likes the most is Atallah's approach to the game and the fact that he knows it's about working hard everyday and not taking anything for granted.
So how does Nick feel he stacks up against his accomplished older sisters?
"They're still competitive. It's really hard playing them," Atallah said with a grin, "they get mad knowing
I can beat them now."
He stacks up well against them. Then again Nick Atallah has been stacking up well against everyone he's faced this year.