Graduating senior Haidyn Green began playing tennis when he was three, and began to compete at age ten. “I realized I was kind of good at it, so I began to take it seriously,” he said in an interview in May. Green rose to become one of the best high school players in the D.C. region and the undisputed leader of the GDS team.
Green placed third in this year’s D.C. State Athletic Association tournament, the same place he won his junior year. He has committed to play tennis at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
Green became so skilled that he had little to gain from being at GDS team practices, instead practicing outside of school. The team’s head coach, John Headley, said, “He doesn’t really come to our practices because we don’t have really anything to offer him.” But when he is at practice, Headley said, Green is an “anchor” to the team. “I think the team looks up to him. He is such a good player. He is so calm and confident,” Headley explained.
Senior Julien Berman, another tennis player, said that Green often gave useful advice to teammates. For example, Berman recalls receiving tips from Green during a match against Sidwell’s Demetrios Bezianis in this year’s D.C. tournament. While Berman did not win the match, he was pleased with his result and glad he got advice from Green. “I was not going to beat Demetrios,” he said about Bezianis. “I think it was 8–4, a lot closer than it would have been.”
Berman also spoke about Green’s leadership of the team. “Obviously besides being an outstanding tennis player, he is really, really nice and he’s a great leader.” Berman said, adding that Green hypes the team up before matches. “He’s great for team morale and spirit,” Berman said.
On the court, he begins each match by “feeling out” his opponent. “If they have strengths, don’t play to their strengths,” Green said. “Personally, I like to attack the ball, take them out of their comfort zone. Then, if that works to plan, just start having fun out there. The reason I play is to have fun, and if I can do that, all the better.”
Green, as the team’s star player, has played the best players on other teams across the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) and only lost one match, to Aristotelis Bezianis of Sidwell, during the regular season. “I had to play Teli [Aristotelis’ nickname] last week against Sidwell. It was a tough match, for sure,” Green said. Green lost both of the sets in tiebreaker games. “He is a defensive player. He is really good. He grinds. I kind of choked.” Green added that he would like a rematch against Bezianis.
Despite his personal success, Green found it important for the GDS team to win the MAC conference championship. “Personally, if I was able to win D.C. States, it would be great,” Green said before playing in both tournaments. “It would be my first time winning. But if we won the conference, it would really be a big morale boost.”
Green did not win States this year, losing once again to Bezianis in the semifinals, but winning the third place match. GDS did not win the MAC tennis championship either, losing to Potomac in the semifinal round. Sidwell claimed victory.
While Green made it to the D.C. tournament his freshman year, as he put it, he “didn’t do so well.” However, in his junior year, he finished third in the citywide singles tournament. Even though he came close to winning States last year, coming one match away from the finals, he was not sure he could go beyond that this year. “I have no real goals,” he said before the tournament. “The competition is tough, as always. Just see how I do and take it as it goes.”
Green’s skill on the court has won him a place on the Brandeis tennis team. Although Brandeis is a Division III school, its men’s tennis team has consistently been near the top of its league, the University Athletic Association. This season, the Judges finished with a 12–6 record. When asked about his expectations for his college career, Green was optimistic, saying, “I am going to play all four years, hopefully. I’m ready.”
CORRECTIONS (June 6): A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Green mainly played tennis casually before beginning to compete in high school; in fact, he started playing when he was three years old and played competitively from age ten. The story also inaccurately stated that Green received a scholarship to play the sport at Brandeis; he did not.