Senior delivers joy, leadership to varsity tennis
With the 2019 tennis season beginning, senior John Monke prepares for one final run at a Valley championship. After coming one match away from the title a year ago, Monke aims to avenge this loss and complete his senior season with a Valley title.
Monke first started playing tennis during his junior high years. He chose to pursue this sport after all his friends joined in and decided to give it a try.
“Well, I first started playing tennis in 7th grade,” Monke said. “I just signed up for that season because I had nothing else to do and my friends were also doing it so I thought, well, it seems fun, so let’s try it out.”
Ever since then, Monke has created many memories on the team and developed a love for the competitive aspect of it. Of the various highlights in his career, the one that stands out most to Monke came while playing with his younger brother. Owen Monke recalls this match as one of his favorite moments of playing tennis with his older brother.
“My favorite moment was when I was playing doubles with John,” Owen said. “It was in the second round of playoffs and it came down to a tiebreaker that we won. We had tons of people watching and it was a super fun experience.”
In addition to building memories with his brother through the sport, Monke credits his parents as being his biggest supporters. He recalls this through both the encouragement they provided and tennis lessons in order to improve.
“I think my biggest supporters for tennis has definitely been my parents,” Monke said. “Without them, I probably wouldn’t be here, where I am, at all because they’ve always helped me, encouraged me and helped me with tennis lessons to get me better at the sport.”
His mother, Audrey Monke, recalls how much enjoyment has come with watching Monke compete. In addition, she believes Monke has drastically improved throughout his four years on the high school team.
“John is a lot of fun to watch play tennis,” Audrey said. “He’s pretty intense and serious as he plays, so I try not to distract him. John has really worked at improving his tennis skills over the past few years, and I’ve enjoyed watching him progress and get more consistent with his different shots. He picked up a racket for the very first time in 7th grade, so it’s remarkable to me to see how far he’s come.”
In addition to his family, his tennis teammates also recognize how important Monke has become to the team. Braden Bell, ‘20, appreciates the laughter provided as well as the sense of confidence brought to the team with Monke’s presence.
“I really appreciate John’s sense of humor,” Bell said. “Whenever I’m with him, you can find me laughing hysterically. Besides jokes, John is also super confident on the courts and always a reliable player. John is a leader both on and off the courts. He is always ready to play and always brings his A game, something I can definitely learn from.”
Logan Lewis, ’20, enjoys how Monke chooses to lead the team on the court through his work ethic and attitude. Lewis believes this in addition to his attitude set him apart from other players.
“John leads with excellence,” Lewis said. “He shows up, beats his opponent, shakes his hand, and moves on to the next match. He never shows off or taunts, after every winning shot he just nonchalantly goes back to his position. John is a joy to play with. Everyday when I see him in the hallways, we always greet each other with ‘see you on the court’ because we’re so excited to play together.”
Over his four years on the FC high school tennis team, coach Robert Foshee has appreciated how much joy Monke is able to brings to the team and his willingness to bear the pressure of big matches. These traits, he believes, has made Monke a valuable part of the team.
“John brings a lot of joy to the team,” Foshee said. “He takes tennis seriously, but also is able to keep perspective and make it fun. John’s performance on the court has demonstrated his leadership ability. He’s willing to put the big matches on his shoulders and take on the pressure.”
In addition to playing tennis, Monke is also a journalist for the Feather Online after joining his Sophomore season. He joined the Feather with hopes of improving his writing skills and preparing for college classes.
“I joined The Feather mainly because I wanted to get better at writing,” Monke said. “I keep coming back to The Feather because I think it’s a really great class to take. It will help me prepare for my college classes. I really enjoy the class just because of the class itself, we have fun in it and we get our jobs done. We are all supportive of each other which is very nice.”
Monke’s articles can be found on his Feather profile page.
For more articles read Sports Records Series: Basketball and Coach returns to lead team, looks to expand golf season.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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