Fundamentals with a Little Spice: Q&A with Sophomore Tennis Player Noah Forman

By BEN HALL

Noah Forman is a Sophomore member of the CC men’s tennis team. Last year, Forman was awarded a spot on the All-SCAC men’s tennis team, and played the entire season at the number one spot for CC. Forman most recently competed at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. on Oct. 1, as one of CC’s two representatives for the men’s team.

Ben Hall: You played tennis and ultimate frisbee in high school. What made you choose to play tennis at CC?

Noah Forman: I knew that the frisbee team here was club—didn’t know how good they were, didn’t know anyone on the team, and didn’t know anyone who had experienced it… But I knew that the CC tennis team was a good group of guys who weren’t super competitive, weren’t focused solely on tennis, and they created an environment that I wanted to be in.

BH: What are the team’s goals for this year?

NF: This year we’re fortunate enough to host conference. It was a shock for a lot of kids, especially me, to go down to Texas in the humidity and heat to play… the ball moves differently at altitude versus at sea level. Last year I played my first ever competitive matches at sea level, so that was kind of new territory for me. This year we’re hoping to gain that advantage because we’ll all be used to altitude and all the other teams in conference are from Texas, so it’ll be new territory for them… Last year I think we took fourth at conference, so this year our goal is to tip ourselves into that top three.

Photo courtesy of Colorado College Athletics

BH: Do you have a favorite memory of playing growing up?

NF: Growing up, I was always put in group lessons and classes. I would be put into groups of kids that were much older than I was…and I think that was something that gave me hope for the future because I’d be playing with kids who were four, five or six years older than I was and still feel totally comfortable in my abilities. In a lot of sports, physical size is crucial, but tennis not so much. I’ve always been shorter than most of the people I’ve spent time around, but in tennis classes that never mattered because I was never physically put up against anyone else.

BH: You’re a very calm person off the court, but a pretty fierce competitor on it. How do you make that transition from mellow Noah to fiery Noah?

NF: I think that it would be kind of a shame to spend so much of my life dedicated towards something and then, when it comes time to compete in that thing, to not give it my all or be totally absorbed in it. I’ve always loved the sport of tennis—I’ve loved watching it, I’ve loved playing it, every moment has been amazing. With every match I want to prove that all the work I’ve put in is worth it, and I want to show what I can do. And a lot of the time, when things are going right, I get excited about that. That shows that I’ve put in the work, and I’ve been training, and it’s paying off, and that kind of fires me up. I try not to show negative emotions on the court and try to stay as positive as possible.

BH: Channeling your inner Federer?

NF: Yeah, that’s exactly what I also try to keep in mind when I’m playing. When Federer plays he’ll never throw a racket, never curse under his breath, never say anything negative out loud. He’ll only pump himself and the crowd up, and I think that’s a really good way to be a showman and representative of your sport.

BH: Do you have any specific aspect of your game that you’re focused on improving this season?

NF: Absolutely. I set pretty high standards for myself—not in terms of how fast or how well I can hit a forehand or a backhand—but in terms of how I want my mental game to be. All sports are a large percent mental, and in tennis when you’re by yourself, it’s really easy to let your thoughts derail, or lose focus or get nervous. I had so many matches last year when we would play DI or DII schools and I’d go in with a clear mental game plan, like, “I have nothing to lose, I’m a DIII player from a small school playing a guy who’s expected to wipe me across the court.” I’d go in and I’d start winning, and for some reason, instead of relaxing me and telling myself, “I can do this, I’m winning,” it would ruin me, which was so bad. I think one of the things I have to do is have more confidence in myself and not be so surprised when I start winning in matches I shouldn’t be winning. With more confidence, I’ll have the ability to close out some awesome matches. If there’s one thing I need to work on specifically, it’s telling myself that I can do it and I’m capable of more than I originally thought.

BH: Can you describe your playing style using a cuisine?

NF: I would say my playing style would be represented by Mexican or Japanese food…I think a lot of the components that go into those two cuisines are, by themselves, straightforward. With Mexican food, for example, you have your rice, cheese, lettuce, salsa, meats. But then every so often there are those ingredients that are really spicy or really flavorful. I would say that my tennis style is what a lot of people would coin as a “grinder.” You stay at the back of the court, and you just hit forehands and backhands…I’m trying to just make the points last as long as possible. I grew up with the idea that you don’t want to be the last person to hit the ball, because a lot of the time if you’re the last person to hit the ball, you’re making an error. My game is pretty straightforward—when you think of tennis, a lot of the time you think of serve, forehand, and backhand. I’ll hit a serve and I’ll stay back and I’ll hit forehands and backhands until the person misses, but occasionally I’ll hit some flashy shots, or some shots where I’ll really go for it, and hit it as hard as I can… so I’d say it’s one of those cuisines, because you get something pretty straightforward that you know what you’re getting yourself into, but then you’ll get some spice or something that surprises you.

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