Nick Berni’s passion for tennis is quite evident. The Edmonds-Woodway senior is, according to Warriors coach Dan Crist, “a student of the game.”
“He really loves tennis, and it’s important to him,” Crist said. “He’s always been around it and interested in it. He’s fundamentally a real good player, and it shows.”
Berni is Edmonds-Woodway’s No. 1 singles player. He finished the regular season with a 9-4 record and will enter postseason play with an eye on returning to the Class 3A state tournament. Last year, he qualified for state in doubles with partner Arun Kalohke.
The Herald recently spoke with Berni about his tennis career and off-the-court interests:
How and when did you start playing tennis?
I first started when I was about 6 years old growing up in Michigan. I was mostly taught by my grandfather, who won three state titles when he was in high school. I moved here when I was 10, and not long after that I started to get back into it, and I’ve been playing year-round ever since.
What do you love about the sport?
I’ve always liked the competing part. I’m especially up for challenges — when you face people who are way better than you, you can test yourself mentally and physically.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to improve your game?
When I started to get serious about tennis in middle school, I had a lot of fights and debates with Andy Jansen, my instructor at Harbour Square Athletic Club, about the two-handed backhand. It just wasn’t something I desired to do. I think after about three years I won that battle, but he’s worked with me to make me the best player I can be.
What is your favorite subject in school?
I’m taking an International Baccalaureate English class right now. It’s not a lot of book learning, but more about discussions — hands-on, visual learning, and learning from each other.
What would you like to study in college?
Right now I’m looking at two careers — business management and mechanical engineering. In watching Andy in his role as director at the club, I look up to him in terms of how he handles (management) situations. He keeps on top of things. And I’ve always had an attraction to automotive engineering. Junior year I took an auto technology class at Meadowdale. We learned about maintenance — taking apart suspension systems, fixing tires or gears, stuff like that.
What are you doing when you’re not on the court or in school?
I work the front desk for the tennis center at Harbor Square, and I also help the teaching pros in their classes, and string rackets. I love it because I get to meet new people every day, and there’s a great community around me.
How would you describe your personality?
I would say I’m a little shy at first, kind of laid-back, until I’m comfortable in a conversation. Then I can be outgoing and sarcastic and let loose a little bit.