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Ashland - Local Town Pages

From Second Grade To College, Sai Chanda Realizing His Tennis Dream Will Come True

By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer 
After taking part in a tennis camp in the second grade, Sai Chanda realized that this was the sport for him. 
The Ashland native also played soccer, but eventually gave up that sport to solely focus on his tennis game. 
“I really enjoyed the feeling that when you are on the court and it’s you and the ball against your opponent. The satisfaction, happiness and the thrill of the game is what I love,” Chanda said. “My dream was to play college tennis and that’s what I began working for, however I didn’t realize that dream until about a year ago when I found that I was capable of actually doing it and started to prepare.”
Come fall, Chanda will be attending Division 3 Clark University in Worcester, where he will be part of the tennis team in some capacity. The senior Clocker had other offers from colleges, but felt Clark was the best fit for him and his Economics / Business Management majors. 
Although it is still up in the air as to whether he’ll play singles or doubles at Clark, the Ashland senior is not really worried about that at this time. 
“I’ve pretty much played singles most of my life, but can play doubles,” he said, “The biggest difference, in addition to it being more of a team sport, is you need to have chemistry with your (doubles) partner to be successful. You need to know their strengths and weaknesses and adjust.”
Clocker Tennis Coach Mike Roman has no hesitations  about Chandra playing on the next level. 
“He’ll do great,” said the Ashland Coach. “Sai is a motivated kid who works hard and will be successful in everything he does. No matter where they play him, he will succeed athletically as well as academically.”
However, before he steps foot onto a collegiate tennis court, the senior still has to finish up his high school career as well as his summer tennis regiment.
During his first campaign with Ashland as a freshman, Chandra was playing second singles and, at 5’2,” found it rather intimidating going up against mostly upper classmen. Although he did find the challenge daunting, he didn’t let it bother him that first season as he knew deep down in his heart what he was capable of accomplishing while on the courts, as long as he went out and played his game.
The freshman concluded that year with a 10-4 record despite going up against some of the more talented tennis players in the Tri-Valley League. Chandra also qualified for the North Individual Tennis Tournament that year where he unfortunately lost 6-0, 6-1 to Winchester’s Eli Criss, the number five seed in the tournament.
The following year Chandra, as well as everyone else, found that Covid put a stop to everything. The then-sophomore virtually had to take the entire year off from tennis. Last year he was back on the court, once again playing in the second singles slot for the Clockers, where he put together another decent season going 9-5. 
This year Chandra is slated to take over as the Clockers number one singles player, where according to Coach Roman, he is capable of having himself another really strong campaign.
“After being our number two for the past two years he most likely will be our number one after challenges, where he should defiantly be able to post another winning season,” Roman said. “I’m figuring he’ll probably win 80-90% of his matches as he has improved his game considerably mentally as well as physically.”
Not only will Chandra be playing in the top spot he is hoping to help Ashland secure a winning season, one in which will translate to the future.
“By the time that I leave high school and head off to college I want to make sure that I leave this team in a better place,” the senior captain said. “I hope that my teammates are not only better players but also have the foundation to continue with a winning tradition here.”
While he has already proven himself, the Clocker senior is still looking to continue working at his game, especially on his serves and groundstrokes. But the biggest thing is keeping himself in a competitive mindset not only to help his teammates, but in addition to being ready for when he takes that next step in college.
“This is one of the most solid teams that I have probably been a part of since I’ve been here,” Chandra said. “This is a naturally talented group that has showed signs of progression and as in the past, our goal is to make the State Tournament.”
Once the season comes to a close, Chandra will get right back into the swing of tennis to get ready for the next chapter of his life. He will continue to play in as many USTA-ranked tournaments as he can, hopefully one every other week, which will allow him to continue to work on his game. 
“I know that I have a strong forehand, but my weakness is my overthinking of things,” he said. “Overthinking slows down my creativity on the court. It used to happen a lot, but I’ve seem to have it under control, although there are times that it does happen. Now a days I am much more confident in myself and my play.”
As Chandra’s dream of playing collegiate tennis will soon become a full-fledged reality, he still has his senior season to complete where he and his Ashland teammates are hoping to go out on top.
Tournament Coverage Will Be Online
For updates on area wrestlers who competed in the State, All-State and New England tourneys, and for basketball and hockey teams that advanced deep into the State Tournament, go to