As a two-sport athlete, is pretty good.
Pretty good in soccer, that is.
He’s really good in tennis.
So good, in fact, the senior often is advised to stop playing soccer and focus all his attention on tennis, just like some Spaniard kid did a few years back. Maybe you’ve heard of him: Rafael Nadal?
“Surprisingly it works well together,” Bodony said of the soccer-tennis double. “The footwork you need on the soccer field works well on the tennis court.
“Rafael Nadal says a great part of his success in tennis is because of great movement around the court, which he attributes to soccer.”
Bodony already is one of the best tennis players in the Marin County Athletic League without having focused solely on the sport. He tried two summers ago, with mixed results.
“I did try the tennis lifestyle,” he said of spending the summer of 2009 at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. “I won a couple of tournaments at a pretty high level, but it just didn’t work for me. I’m pretty social guy. I like to hang out with my friends. At these tournaments, you’re pretty isolated.”
If Bodony felt isolated Monday, it was because he was in a zone. He crushed Marin Catholic’s Shawn Dawd 6-1, 6-1 to propel Drake to a stunningly easy 9-0 romp over the Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the MCAL playoffs.
Bodony’s performance demonstrated that just because he’s not a full-time player doesn’t mean he can’t outsmart an opponent.
“He had a good stroke,” Bodony observed. “But it was very windy and he had trouble keeping the ball in. So I stayed aggressive and kept coming to the net, forcing him to make shots. He missed a lot.”
The victory advanced Drake into the semifinals today, Tuesday, at top-seeded Redwood.
Bodony would figure to be one of the top seeds at next week’s MCAL Championships, but keeping in line with his low-key approach to the sport, he has asked his coach, Jenno Morson, if he can play in the doubles portion of the event with longtime friend and fellow senior .
“He’s the guy who got me into tennis originally in sixth grade,” Bodony said of Longo, Drake’s No. 3 singles player. “As seniors, we want to have a good time with it. We’ve played in a couple of tournament together. Nothing serious, but always fun.”
Bodony hopes the fun can continue in college, but he realizes his chances of playing both his favorite sports is far less likely than it was when he entered high school. Nonetheless, he’s going to wing it.
“I’m definitely going to try to walk on to both teams,” he said, noting that the University of Oregon remains high on his wish list of colleges. “I’m pretty sure I’d have a better chance of playing tennis because I’m definitely not as good at soccer.”
Morson wonders just how good Bodony – and his entire team, for that matter – could be if the focus year-round were on tennis. No. 4 singles player , for example, plays alongside Bodony in soccer.
“They’d double their results,” Morson claimed, if they focused their efforts.
So why doesn’t Bodony concentrate on one sport?
“I’ve thought about it all the time,” he admitted. “But I like them both too much. I have friends in both sports.
“I like to think of myself as an all-around athlete. I can play any sport.”
Next week, Bodony will try a team sport – doubles. History tells us he’ll probably be pretty good at it.
DRAKE TENNIS UPDATE
Recent results: Beat Marin Catholic, 9-0, in the quarterfinals of the MCAL Playoffs.
Drake’s record: 9-5 overall
Highlights: The Pirates finished the regular season with the same number of losses as Branson, but placed one spot lower because the Bulls played one more match, a result of San Rafael dropping out of the league. Drake split matches with the Bulls, who also reached the MCAL semifinals with a win Monday … Jessery Gerwin, who has split time with Jesse Bodony at No. 1 singles this season, got Monday’s playoff win off to a successful start with a straight-sets win over Marin Catholic’s top player … No. 3 Dominic Longo and No. 4 Ben Judkins lost a total of just two games in their wins … The doubles team of brothers prevailed in the most exciting match of the day, winning at 10-8 super-tiebreaker at first doubles.
Coach Jenno Morson’s comments: “We got off to a slow start this season because we have a lot of multi-sport athletes and they weren’t practicing (tennis). But as the matches picked up, the players improved and we’re finishing the season playing very well.”
Upcoming schedule: MCAL Championships at Terra Linda High, Monday.