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Athlete of the Week: Robert Haddad, Tennis Ace

The UCVT Magnet High School senior is headed for State Singles Tournament.

Union County Vocational Technical Magnet School senior, Robert Haddad, made an easy transition from soccer player to tennis star. “I play goalie for the Johnson soccer team and I play tennis much the same way,” he says. “I never let anything get past me.” With a personal season record of 8-3, Haddad is the first player from Arthur L. Johnson boy’s tennis to make it to the State Singles Tournament since 2005. That tournament will be played June 4th and 5th at Mercer County Park.

Introduced to the game by his aunt and his dad, Haddad first played tennis competitively on the Kumpf Middle School team. Haddad began playing tennis for Johnson his junior year. He says he likes tennis for the individuality of the sport. “It is all on me … win or lose,” says Haddad. He was recently named “Player to Watch” by the Star Ledger. He won the first round of the state sectional competition against Snyder High School on May 19th in Jersey City 6-0, 6-0 and will now advance to the next round. “I never expected to do so well this year, but everything worked out,” he says.

Haddad will attend the University of Notre Dame In the fall, following in the footsteps of his older brother. “It has been my dream school since I visited four years ago when I went to drop off my brother,” he says. “I will miss my family and friends but it is worth it.” In his free time, Haddad tutors children in math and science and likes to work out.

Coach Christopher Raguseo says:  “Senior Robert Haddad is our 1st Singles Player. He was recently selected by the Star Ledger as the player to watch in Union County. His record thus far is 8-3. He finished in 6th place in the Union County Tournament and recently qualified for the State Tournament. Robbie is an extremely hard working, focused and dedicated individual. His play this season has raised more than a few eyebrows. Whoever fills his spot next season will have big shoes to fill.”

First started playing tennis:  “My aunt took me out at age 8 or 9.

Stats:  8-3, 6th place in Union County 1st Singles Tournament

Siblings:  A brother, Tommy

Nickname:  Robbie

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite movie: 300

Favorite food: Homemade tacos

Favorite TV show: ESPN Sports Center

Favorite Clark hangout: The basketball court at Brewer.

Favorite Team: Green Bay Packers

Something no one knows about me:  “I have never been beaten at ping pong.”

My biggest fans and biggest influence: “My parents. My dad taught me how to play tennis.”

My pre-game ritual: “Hard to describe. I jump up and down a lot and kiss the cross that I wear around my neck.”

Songs that pumps me up before a game: "Headstrong" by Trapt

Game philosophy:  “I tell myself that I can win no matter who I am playing.”

Coach always tells me: “He tells me that I can win and it worked for me in a three-hour match in Summit.”

What I am doing well this season: “Movement and net play are my strengths.”

Favorite moment of the season:  “Coming back against Summit in a three-hour match after winning two tie-breaks. I lost the first set 6-3, won the second and third in tie-breaks.”

During the off-season:  “I play club soccer year round, played Johnson soccer in the fall and like to play football with friends.

In 10 years: “I hope to be working on Wall Street.”

Reflections on this season: “It was a tremendous season with a great group of teammates and a wonderful coach.”

College plans:  “I am going to Notre Dame, following my brother who is graduating from there this year. I hope to play soccer and will double major in finance and math.”

My teammates in three words: Supportive, athletic, energetic.

My coach in three words: Funny, enthusiastic, encouraging

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