Boys Tennis: Glenbrook North’s Perez, Zakhodin prove to be a perfect pair
Glenbrook North's Miguel Perez (left) and David Zakhodin during a doubles match. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:57AM
When Will Sauser, David Zakhodin and Miguel Perez stepped onto the Glenbrook North tennis courts on the first day of practice this spring, Spartans coach Jeff Jordan caught a clear, immediate glimpse of the program’s future.
At that point, Jordan didn’t know what to expect in having underclassmen assume such prominent roles on a team which competes against some of the state’s elite programs within the CSL.
But at No. 2 doubles, Perez and Zakhodin vastly exceeded all expectations, including their own.
“When I started to play doubles with David, I was expecting a good season, a solid team, but I never expected to come this far and be that good,” Perez said. “We improved a lot during practice and (during) this season. We were very solid. We went 28-4, which was pretty good.”
With freshmen filling the Spartans’ No. 1 singles spot and the No. 2 doubles team this season, Glenbrook North figures to have its top singles and doubles slots filled for the next three years.
In the case of Perez and Zakhodin, the maturation into quality players came both from match experience and working with the Spartans’ No. 1 doubles team, Bill Angel and Adam Spector.
“They’re great role models for us,” Zakhodin said. “We were able to learn a lot from them.”
Perez and Zakhodin were able to find immediate success, in part because of their pre-existing relationship. They competed at the same tennis club before playing together at Glenbrook North, forming a friendship which paved the way for a strong on-court bond.
“We had a very good relationship with each other,” Zakhodin said. “Lot of ups, a lot of downs, but we were always together. I think it was a good season.”
The pair’s season ended when Perez and Zakhodin, who were seeded No. 3 in the Schaumburg sectional, fell to Glenbrook South’s Will Lyon and Luke McCanna 6-2, 6-4 on Friday. Perez and Zakhodin played Glenbrook South’s No. 2 doubles pairing twice in the season, splitting the two matches.
But in a match which determined who advanced to state, Perez and Zakhodin both felt as if the moment — and the stakes of the match — overwhelmed them.
“They outplayed us,” Perez said. “We weren’t very focused. We just kind of threw the match away. I think they were able to handle it better. They’ve been here before, we haven’t.”
While their sectional experience ended in disappointment — Sauser will represent Glenbrook North at the state tournament after finishing third at the sectional — Perez and Zakhodin’s relationship, and skill, allowed them to enjoy a memorable first season together.
They figure to continue their doubles partnership and become the Spartans’ No. 1 doubles team. The only thing they want to change from this season is the result at sectionals.
“We didn’t get to state, which was kind of a disappointment,” Perez said. “But there’s next year.”