For The Tribune
In the fall, Riley Carlin spends most of his time on the tennis courts — his favorite place to be.
“I just like the camaraderie, the friendship, and the competition, mostly,” he said. “Tennis is something I’ll be able to keep the rest of my life and be able to play it. I’m glad I picked it up and had lessons and everything.”
Carlin said he started playing tennis in seventh grade and was in the varsity lineup all four years at Brownstown Central.
He played singles earlier in his career but switched to No. 1 doubles this season.
“I had fun playing doubles,” Carlin said. “I’ve enjoyed having a partner mostly that I could rely on so I just wasn’t just out there by myself. He could get to the shots that I couldn’t.”
During matches, Carlin prefers to grind it out on the baseline.
“I like hitting shots from the baseline mostly, but if I need to I’ll come to the net whenever they’re scrambling for the ball,” he said.
This season, Carlin played with Sam Hoff.
Carlin said it took them a few matches to get to know one another’s tendencies, and he felt they played well over the last two-thirds of the season.
The No. 1 doubles duo reached double figures in wins this season, and Carlin credits that to teamwork.
Carlin is right-handed and said he played on the right side to take advantage of his forehand.
He said he feels like he has good lateral movement and had an adequate backhand.
In matches, Carlin said he thinks the first set is a must win.
“I think it’s really important to win the first set because its sets the mood for the rest of the match,” Carlin said. “If you don’t win it, it’s going to be with you, and it’s kind of hard to get it out of your head.”
Carlin said he would rather dominate his opponent than win a close set, but when he loses he would rather lose a close set than fall 6-0.
With unpredictable weather, Carlin said that it’s important to adjust to the elements.
“In the wind you have to adjust your shots because the wind will take the ball longer so you want to hit it short,” Carlin said. “If you hit a spin the wind will make it spin even more. You’ve just got to adjust your play.”
In tennis, Carlin feels that mental strength can make or break matches.
“It’s important that you do have a good mental attitude because that can affect your whole mindset of the match, or game or whatever it is, because if you have a good attitude, then you feel like you’re going to do good against your opponent,” Carlin said. “If you don’t have a good attitude then it will completely destroy how you play.”
Parents: Whitney and Jill Carlin
Siblings: Ethan, Reece
Sports: tennis 4 years
Organizations: Lettermen’s Club
Favorite food: Chicken fingers
Favorite TV show: Arrow
Favorite musician: Adam Levine
Favorite movie: “Kingsman: The Secret Service”
Favorite team: Novak Djokovic
What are some of your best memories from this season?
“Beating Franklin in the Scottsburg Tournament. I hit three or four hard forehands that kind of turned the match around.”
What’s it like attending Brownstown Central?
“I’ve enjoyed it very much. I kind of like the small size school. You get to know the people. I enjoy tennis the most. I like home matches a lot.”
Did you enjoy having your brother, Ethan, on the team?
“It’s been different. He can keep up with us. He’s got pretty strong shots, too. He’s going to be a contender for No. 1 singles next year.”