When Syosset junior Kabir Rajpal decided to return to high school tennis this season, he had goals to help lead his team to a county championship and, on a personal level, capture the county singles title.
He accomplished one of those on Saturday at Eisenhower Park as he defeated Wheatley’s Karan Amin 6-1, 6-1 to win the Nassau County Singles Title.
“To finally become a county champion, this means a lot,” said Rajpal, who is Syosset's first singles champion since 2003. “Ever since I started playing high school tennis in eighth grade, you dream of being a county singles champion. It’s finally great to say that.”
After defeating Cold Spring Harbor’s Griffin Schlesinger in the semifinals, Rajpal took on Amin with the title on the line. He raced out to a lead thanks to an early break of serve, and kept the momentum rolling throughout the match.
“He’s cool, calm and collected. He’s a powerful and strong player, so I knew I had to be at the top of my game and completely ready,” Rajpal said of Amin. “The whole match I kept telling myself, ‘don’t give him any points, don’t have any slips’. I don’t think he had any break points, so that just shows that I really stuck to that mindset. It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that I was able to step up in the biggest moments.”
Rajpal will now lead the Nassau County contingent into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships, which run from Thursday, May 30 through Saturday, June 1.
“This feels great, I don’t think it’s set in yet,” said Rajpal. “Especially in singles, it means a lot. I was very close with Yuval [Solomon], and Patrick Maloney won it last year. So to be part of that group is something special. I’m honored to be put in the same sentence as guys like that.”
As a finalist, Amin also qualifies for the state tournament, as does Schlesinger, who defeated Massapequa’s Niles Ghaffar 6-1, 6-0 in the third-place match.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.