There’s plenty to be impressed about Peter Conklin’s tennis career so far.
He’s been an integral part of the starting lineup at Hopkins since the eighth grade. He made the Register’s All-Area team for the fourth straight year.
He’s the third ranked singles player in New England in the United States Tennis Association’s 18-under division. And he was the Hilltoppers’ top player in their run to the New England prep School Athletic Council Class B championship.
Coach (Bryan) Adinolfi stresses our biggest goal is to win the New England title,” Conklin said. “You need a lot of fitness in order to prepare for it. It’s a grind, three matches in two days. You definitely have to be really fit.”
Naturally, Adinolfi is impressed with Conklin’s skill set. But what most impresses the head coach?
“What impressed me this year is how much he wanted to be with the team,” Adinolfi said. “He’d come to practice, hit with the younger kids in practice, work with them. None of it mattered for his (USTA) ranking, but it still showed he really wanted to do it.”
Conklin grew up in Fairfield. He was friends with Sayer Paige, who eventually became his teammate and was the Hilltoppers’ No. 1 player. The No. 1 player before that was Sayer’s brother Nolan, who went on to play at Stanford University.
“They were a huge reason why we came to Hopkins,” said Peter, whose younger sister Marion plays for the girls’ team. “I think the combination of fantastic academics and the Paiges were successful there, it seemed like a good fit.”
In the off-season, Conklin grew almost four inches and now stands at 6 feet. Conklin said his serve has “gotten bigger and stronger.”
Adinolfi likes “the intensity of his footwork. He is always moving. Going through a growth spurt could work against you as far as quickness of feet, but not with him.”
Conklin feels he needs to get to net more often to finish off points quicker. He will be able to work on that in between events in his busy summer schedule, which culminates with the USTA Boys’ 18s & 16s National Championships overtakes Kalamazoo, Michigan. Aug. 6-14 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
A good summer could land Conklin significant Division I college interest. He wants something that offers what Hopkins has: a very good academic profile and the opportunity to start for the tennis team right away.
“He is not done developing. His work ethic with tennis is pretty amazing. He trains hard a lot,” Adinolfi said.