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    Sunday, December 04, 2022

    The Day's All-Area Boys' Tennis Player of the Year: Will Albrikes

    Top-seeded Fitch High School freshman Will Albrikes won the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament singles title May 25, defeating No. 2 Tucker Callahan of Stonington 7-5, 7-5. Albrikes was named The Day's 2022 All-Area Boys' Tennis Player of the Year. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    It is a common sight at local sporting events: Dad hollers words of encouragement at Sonny. Or perhaps a critique. Sonny acknowledges with a cursory nod. Or perhaps eyeroll.

    Ah, but what happens when dad is one of the most accomplished people in your sport that you may ever know?

    And this is the story of the Albrikes family.

    "My dad was always a really good tennis player," Fitch High School freshman Will Albrikes was saying recently. "He's just taught me how to play. He's been my coach ever since day one."

    Will Albrikes, whose age perhaps belies his accomplishments, is The Day's 2022 All-Area Boys' Tennis Player of the Year, following his Eastern Connecticut Conference championship match victory in late May.

    This is pro forma for the family. As the son's adventures build, the dad, Jerry Albrikes, has quite the resume.

    He is a United States Tennis Association New England Hall of Famer and the former head tennis pro at Mystic Indoor Tennis. Jerry Albrikes is a former No. 1 player in New England who spent teaching time in the south coaching at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he worked with Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic, among others.

    Jerry Albrikes has been a hitting partner for other pros at the Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven, a former national platform tennis champion and the athlete of the year at Central Connecticut State University. In high school, he attended St. Joseph in Trumbull, where he was a two-time Class M state champion.

    "When I was younger, I remember hitting with my dad (thinking) 'I want to do this for the rest of my life.' I love the sport and everything about it," Will Albrikes said. "You know, I can play it till I'm super old because that's one of the advantages with the sport. You can only play football till high school or maybe college, but you can play tennis, like, forever."

    Will Albrikes, ever entertaining to watch, plays with a joy that couldn't possibly happen were he concerned with his father's — or anybody else's — critiques. During the ECC championship match, Albrikes punctuated one winner with the LeBron James celebratory "silencer" move that had his teammates roaring.

    "Every day, I have to get out early in the morning. I have practice in the afternoon," Albrikes said. "My dad always wakes me up and always pushes me to be the best I can be."

    Will Albrikes knows he has much remaining in his high school career, such as advancing in the state tournament next year. But he couldn't have enjoyed his freshman season more, what with not only winning ECC singles, but watching teammates Tim Lynch and Doug Cardona win doubles. The home office for ECC tennis in 2022 was located at 101 Groton Long Point Road.

    "My goal is states when I get to my sophomore and junior year," Albrikes said. "But to win the ECCs as a freshman was great because that was my goal. Our team won, which was really awesome."

    And the recipe to get there?

    "Put in more hours, maybe go other places to play better kids," Will Albrikes said. "Really get out there and get out of my comfort zone. Next year's goal is getting to the second round of states and of course win the ECCs again. If I can win two in a row, that'd be pretty cool to experience."

    m.dimauro@theday.com

    Will Albrikes, a Fitch High School freshman, was introduced to the game by his dad, Jerry, the former No. 1 player in New England and a member of the United States Tennis Association of New England Hall of Fame. Will didn't require much of an adjustment period at the high school level, winning the ECC singles championship May 25 over Stonington's Tucker Callahan 7-5, 7-5. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    The Day's 2022 All-Area Boys' Tennis Team

    Player of the Year - Will Albrikes (Fitch)

    Singles

    Tucker Callahan (Stonington)

    Daniel Sapozhnikov (East Lyme)

    Julian Mileski (Ledyard)

    Jiarui Peng (East Lyme)

    Doubles

    Rohan Purohit-Rohun Boopathy (East Lyme)

    Tim Lynch-Doug Cardona (Fitch)

    Ronan Allison-Ben Fieldsend (Ledyard)

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