Freshman Nishesh Basavareddy dominated the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego, Calif. last week, becoming the youngest champion in the event’s history. He is also the first Stanford player to bring home the title in 21 years and only the fourth Cardinal athlete to ever do so.
The freshman opened his tournament with straight set wins over Oklahoma’s Nathan Han and Baylor’s Jake Finn Bass. Basavareddy then bested Michigan’s Andrew Fenty in the quarterfinal in three sets, before prevailing in another three-setter against Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc of Florida State in the semifinals. In the finals, Basavareddy wrapped up the tile with a straight set victory over Texas’s Eliot Spizzirri, 6-1, 6-4.
“I think at the beginning of the tournament, I was already feeling like I was playing well, so I knew I had a good chance. Overall, it was a clean week,” Basavareddy said. “In the beginning of the season, I never expected to do this well.”
Basavareddy, who has won all three collegiate tournaments he has played thus far, ends his fall season with a 17-1 overall record. He is expected to be ranked No. 1 in singles in the country.
“I knew that he was a special player when he came in,” said head coach Paul Goldstein. “But I think his results have surpassed even the most significant expectations one might have had for him. From a tennis standpoint, his feel for the court, his understanding of the geometry of the game, is exceptional. But what he’s proving is that he’s also a phenomenal competitor.”
Despite being only a couple of months into his collegiate career, Goldstein says Basavareddy has made many improvements from when he first arrived on campus and which he was able to utilize in San Diego. While Goldstein did not accompany Basavareddy to the tournament, he followed the live scores closely and watched livestreams of the matches from Stanford.
However, despite the freshman’s extraordinary performance this past week, Goldstein says that Basavareddy is far from being distracted by his results.
“They flew back Sunday evening; I picked [Volunteer Assistant Coach] Horacio [Matta] and Nishesh up from the airport and you know, this is an incredible accomplishment he’s had. He should be basking in it, celebrating it,” Goldstein said. “And he did, but we’re driving home, and all Nishesh wanted to talk about was the things that he could do to get better and the things that he could do to improve.”
Along with Basavareddy, sophomore Max Basing also competed at the ITA Fall Nationals. After defeating Mississippi State’s Nemanja Malesevic, 6-4, 7-5, he fell to the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Garrett Johns of Duke. But the Cardinal still had an impressive run as the only school with more than one singles player to advance to the round of 16.
“I was cheering him on; he was cheering me on,” Basavareddy said. “It’s always fun having a teammate with you. Overall, we had pretty good results as a team.”
With this tournament marking the end of the fall season, Basavareddy has high hopes for the upcoming spring season, which will begin in January.
“I hope I just continue to improve, continue to build and then play,” Basavareddy said. “I might play another professional event next week, and then hopefully carry this momentum into the dual season so that we can have a good season as a team and hopefully compete for the NCAA title in May.”