Suzuki crosses world, finds home on CHS tennis team


Disha Kohli

Coppell High School varsity tennis player junior Mihiro Suzuki and freshman Andreja Zrnic dive to hit the ball during their second set against Marcus High School on September 18. Suzuki moved to Coppell from Japan before his sophomore year of high school and has found a home on the tennis team.

Pramika Kadari, Copy Editor

As Coppell High School junior Mihiro Suzuki stepped through CHS doors for the first time two years ago, he saw nothing but unfamiliar faces in the sea of students around him; he did not know a single person — until he joined the tennis team, and eventually became its No. 1 boys player.


After spending the first part of his life in Japan, Suzuki had relocated to Plano briefly before returning to Japan for several years, then finally settled in Coppell at the beginning of his sophomore year. Despite the fact it was not his first time moving, the change was still difficult.


“[Coppell] was a new environment for me, I didn’t know anybody, the school was huge, there were thousands of people unlike my old school [in Japan],” Suzuki said. “It’s just scary jumping into a new environment. But being on the tennis team helped a lot because it gave me people to rely on.”


Much of Suzuki’s time now is devoted to tennis, but keeping in touch with his culture is still important , which is why he attends a Japanese school every Saturday to learn the language and socialize with his Japanese friends.


Although he played tennis leisurely in Japan, Suzuki did not compete until enrolling at CHS. Now, most of his friends are tennis players, as he sees them every day and shares a passion for the sport with them.


“I get along with the tennis team because they are such a family atmosphere,” Suzuki said. “I get to be close with everybody.”


The team aspect is not the only thing Suzuki loves about the sport. He enjoys the analytical side of it, playing not only his opponent’s body but also their mind.


“You have to think a lot [in tennis] it’s a lot of mental game, putting pressure on your opponent,” Suzuki said. “Strategy is important. It’s not just hitting the ball hard, but where you want to hit it, how you want to hit it, how can you make them miss.”


Albeit he has not played competitively for as long as many others have, Suzuki has completely dedicated himself to the sport, to the point where he has little time for other extracurriculars. He practices every day without fail; if it is raining, he will use indoor courts or practice volleying inside.


“[Mihiro is] very hardworking and committed, especially to tennis,” CHS tennis senior Justin Bohn said. “His dedication to the sport [makes him a good player]. Tennis is a sport of practice, and if you’re able to put the time in, and the effort in, you’re going to be good at it and that’s what he does.”


The combination of his love for tennis and his desire to attend a good college pushes Suzuki to persevere each day.


“I’ve always loved tennis since I was a kid,” Suzuki said. “If doing something I love can help me simultaneously with my college admissions – that helps me work [even] harder at it.”


When he joined the team last year, he was Coppell’s No. 7 boy, which did not come with as much pressure as being the No. 1, as he is now. Overall, the season has gone well for him, but the beginning of it was difficult due to the new levels of pressure.


“Now I understand more how to deal with the pressure of being No. 1,” Suzuki said. “People on the team don’t specifically pressure me, but obviously before matches I get nervous. [At first], I felt like everyone was watching me. But I found out that pressure is only made by how I make it. It’s something I control, not other people.”


[At first], I felt like everyone was watching me. But I found out that pressure is only made by how I make it. It’s something I control, not other people.

— Mihiro Suzuki


Coppell won the district title for the third consecutive season. Especially when it advances into its playoff matches, stakes are high, which contributes to more pressure. Unfortunately, Coppell’s season ended earlier than desired when they lost Regional Quarters to Southlake on Oct. 22.


“[Our mentality] has to change [in this part of the season],” CHS tennis coach Rich Foster said. “The early part of the season allows for mistakes … once you pass district, you’re not allowed to lose. There’s less margin for error. That’s what the rest of the season is for, getting us mentally tough so we can handle that pressure, knowing that at any point, it can come down to one person.”


Despite the loss, tennis is still one of the most enriching aspects of Suzuki’s life. Now, as he walks the halls of CHS each day, although an abundance of unfamiliar faces still surround him, he knows he has a home on the tennis team.