OAK PARK — Chemistry on the tennis court is a prerequisite for any good doubles and that’s why Oak Park-River Forest junior Audrey Angelos and senior Anna Rossa are hoping for a good run at the state tournament.
Huskies head coach Fred Galluzzo has enjoyed watching the two grow as a team over the last two years, especially since many pairings never quite work out.
“A lot of coaches try to take their two best singles players and put them at doubles and think they have a good doubles team,” Galluzzo said. “What they have is two good singles players pretending to play doubles. These two have played together so long that they’re mostly moving together. They sense what each other is going to do. This year they have played some sparkling points and they’re playing very sharply.”
Angelo and Rossa began working on their rapport after Angelos’ first season with the Huskies. Working with coach Luka Bagos at the Oak Park Tennis Center, they discovered that what one player was lacking was the other’s strength.
“We got along and now we’re practically best friends off the court and that’s important for chemistry on the court,” Rossa said. “Our playing styles match as well. Audrey has an awesome net game and that’s my weakness. I really like hitting returns and that’s her weakness.”
The duo placed third at the OPRF Sectional on Saturday and is set to begin the state tournament Thursday. The tournament, which is hosted by Buffalo Grove, is scheduled to run through Saturday on various northwest suburban courts.
“We’re both incredibly focused on doing well at state but our main priority is to really enjoy it,” Rossa said. “We’ll remember us having a good time over getting a certain spot. With that being said, we are trying to do better than we have.”
“This is our best opportunity to do well at state since I’ll be playing with someone new next year and we’ve been playing together for a while,” Angelos said.
The duo credit last season’s experience of playing No. 2 doubles behind teammates Tess Trinka and Taylor Arends for helping the players’ development. Trinka and Arends took second at State.
“We learned a lot from them,” Rossa said. “They’re both great athletes but what really helped them is that they’re very smart players. They know how to maximize certain shots and they can pick out other team’s weaknesses right away. Just by watching them you learned a lot about strategy. Just like we are, they were great friends and that helps a lot, too.
“This is my best season in my four years here. We adjusted really well playing at No. 1 doubles. We weren’t intimidated by the teams we had to face. We knew it would be challenging but we were excited.”
Rossa and Angelos also advanced to state last season but their stay was short. The duo won the first match before falling in the second round.
“Last year we didn’t do as well at state as we wanted to, so that really motivated us to work hard together over the winter and through the summer,” Angelos said. “Since this is our last year together we figured we should really make the most of it.”