Athlete of the Week: Rushil Patel ’24

From Friday, September 10, to Sunday, September 12, the Swarthmore men’s tennis team opened their fall season at the Villanova Fall Invitational. In one of his essential singles matches of the weekend, Rushil Patel, a sophomore from Duncan, SC, defeated Johns Hopkins’ James Yu 8-6, aiding the Garnet’s success in the tournament’s Blue Draw. Patel secured a third place finish alongside Swarthmore’s Charlie Force ’24 in their draw. Traveling to Fredericksburg, VA, the men’s tennis team is set to participate in the ITA Regionals, starting October 1. 

Anna Suh: What attracted you to Swarthmore’s tennis program?

Rushil Patel: I wanted to join a competitive tennis program at a school where I could be challenged on the court and in the classroom.

AS: What is your intended major and why?

RP: My intended major is economics and pre-med. I’m overall undecided, but I want to do something that will have a good impact on the world. 

AS: What led you to originally start playing tennis?

RP: My mom had me start with tennis and golf at a young age. Later I had to decide which I enjoyed more to pursue more seriously, and I chose tennis.

AS: How does the beginning of this year’s team experience compare with your first year on the team?

RP: This year’s team experience is excellent compared to last year. Last year, only half the team was on campus, and it did not feel like the whole team was connected. 

AS: What are your personal and team goals for this season?

RP: My team goal for this season is to win the conference in the spring and end Hopkins’ streak. My personal goal this season is to be an All-American. 

AS: What is your favorite thing to do with the tennis team off the court?

RP: My favorite thing to do with the tennis team off the court is to play Super Smash Bros. 

AS: What are your pre- and post-match rituals?

RP: My pre-match rituals involve me just getting in the right mindset. I listen to some hype music and then visualize [how] it feels when I play my best and what I want to happen. I try to prepare my mind the best I can to compete. My most noticeable ritual is during the match. Every time I switch sides of the court, I change or touch my opponent’s score on the scorecard and then my score with my right hand and then head over towards my side. Post-match, I would stretch and foam roll and reflect on how things went during the match.

AS: What has been your favorite moment of the fall season thus far?

RP: My favorite moment of the Fall season thus far has been competing in the invitational tournament at Villanova. It was so much fun to start competing against other teams and finally represent Swarthmore.

AS: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t studying or playing tennis?

RP: My favorite thing to do when I’m not studying or playing tennis is taking walks through the Crum. 

AS: Favorite Sharples bar?

RP:  I feel like you can’t go wrong with the pasta bar.

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