When he first picked up a raquet, Stephen Hardy didn’t envision himself as the next Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
While he enjoyed the game of tennis, it wasn’t something he initially took seriously until a couple of years ago. It was when he began taking private lessons under Adrian Games that Hardy started to see his game, and potential, flourish.
Now, a freshman on the Evergreen boys tennis team (coached by Games), Hardy occupies the No. 3 singles slot and is more than holding his own against the competition.
Through his first six matches, Hardy has yet to lose. He defeated Conifer’s Zach Fuller 6-4, 6-2 in an exciting match on Sept. 11. Hardy was the lone singles player from Evergreen to win on the afternoon, and the victory was definitely a big one as the Cougars edged out their rivals in a Class 4A Jefferson County League match, 4-3.
Hardy had a shaky beginning to his match, double-faulting three times in the opening game. His serve was broken three times in the set, yet Hardy was still able to rally from a 4-3 deficit and take the set 6-4.
“I was disappointed when I was having trouble with my serve,” Hardy said. “I had been struggling with my serve coming into the match and knew I wasn’t lifting my head. Once I made the correction, my serve improved.”
Hardy carried the momentum into the second set, winning the first two games. Fuller, who hit several strong forehand winners, won the next two games to draw even, but a string of unforced errors gave Hardy the final edge.
“Stephen’s a student of the game,” Games said. “He has the physical tools, but now he’s learning to compete.”
Evergreen 4, Conifer 3
No. 1 singles: Jeff Swanson, C, def. Greer Chaldekas, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2); No. 2: Stuart Enyon, C, def. Kurt Dieter 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-4; No. 3: Stephen Hardy, E, def. Zach Fuller, 6-4, 6-2; No. 1 doubles: Nate Chart/Rock Wagner, E, def. Orwig/Witek, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); No. 2: Peter Hassinger/Forrest Stone, E, def. Wakeman/Pinkul, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2; No. 3: Jack Stabelle/Bryan Repko, E, def. Zenderlinden/Kelly, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3; No. 4: Lane/McGlynn, C, def. Cameron Stadler/Cam Tucker, 6-1, 6-4.