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Senior captain Sydney Constantinidi has a record of 14-0 competing out of the No. 2 singles position for the North Branford girls’ tennis team this season. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Constantinidi )
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Sydney Constantinidi began playing tennis at the tail end of middle school after her brother Daniel found success in the sport. Sydney started taking lessons from her brother and went on to develop her game at the racquet and swim clubs in Guilford and Madison. Now a senior at North Branford, Sydney has progressed to the No. 2 singles position for the girls’ tennis team and is currently sporting a record of 14-0.
“He tended to get very impatient with me, but he’s the whole reason I’m playing how I am today,” says Sydney of her brother, who played for Albertus Magnus College. “I just go out there with the mindset that no match is going to be easy. I figure out in the first game what I need to do to outwork my opponent. I then carry that through the whole set, coach gives me some advice, and then I put that all together to win.”
Sydney’s success on the singles court is proving huge for North Branford, which is 11-3 on the year. Head Coach Matt Tortora says that Sydney has been playing great all season, especially when the senior captain was battling through an injury.
“Sydney has been a rock at the No. 2 singles slot. At one point, she injured her hand to the point of it being in a partial cast. One would think this would be the time for Sydney to rest up, so that she would be 100 percent for the final stretch of the season, but that just isn’t the type of person she is,” says Tortora. “She not only played, but won both matches. Sydney knew that she could still help the team, and so she played. She makes it easy to be proud of her.”
Sydney believes that her greatest asset on the court is her ability to play the corners. Sydney likes to make her opponents run from side to side as they try to keep the rally alive.
“I think I’m pretty good at moving my opponents around. That’s been really big for me this year,” says Sydney. “In practice, our main focus is where you put the ball. Most of the time, I place it where I want to, but some of my opponents are good and can move me around, too. I’m used to getting to the ball very quickly.”
Sydney also competed for North Branford’s girls’ basketball team through her junior season. While she enjoyed playing hoops, Sydney decided to completely devote herself to tennis during the winter. Coach Tortora was impressed with how much Sydney worked on her game.
“Sydney committed to an extremely comprehensive offseason program, which included a workout routine, regular clinics, private lessons, and finding the time to hit every chance she could,” Tortora says. “If someone was trying to find Sydney between June and March, all they would have to do was find the nearest tennis court, and there would be a good chance of finding her there.”
Sydney earned the honor of serving as a captain for North Branford in her junior year. She’s reprising her leadership this role this spring and is wholeheartedly enjoying the experience.
“I love being captain. I feel it helps me communicate with the team so much better,” Sydney says. “It’s nice to have people looking up to me, because we have so many new freshmen that are learning. It makes me so happy to help them.”
Sydney recently committed to play tennis at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Sydney never anticipated competing at the next level, but she’s looking forward to continuing her career.
“The coach from Johnson & Wales reached out to me, and then I did an overnight at the school and fell in love with the team. I think it’s a good, competitive level where I’ll be able to keep playing,” says Sydney. “Even last year, I didn’t think I’d have an opportunity to play in college, so I’m very grateful I’ve learned so much.”
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