Undefeated freshman tennis player shines as team’s top option

Freshman tennis player Bass Lin remains undefeated 10 matches into his rookie season, in both singles and doubles.

Before becoming the No. 1 option for the Lions and facing the top players on the opposing team for each game, Lin attended Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, California from 2015-18. Lin grew up in Shanghai, China, where he followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather by playing tennis at an early age.

“From the age of seven to 13, I would train five times a week,” Lin said. “Right when school got out, I would start training from 3:30 to 7 p.m. every day.”

Weil Academy students reach out to coaches at schools they believe might fit them, according to Emerson head coach Aaron Bergeron. Bergeron first received an email from Lin in August 2017 and maintained communication with Lin until he committed to Emerson in March 2018.

In the matches that contribute to the Lions’ overall season record, Lin has not yet lost a singles game. The only singles match Lin lost this year was against Middlebury College senior Noah Farrell in the 2018 Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s New England Regional Championship last September. Farrell, currently with a No. 13 ranking in Division III singles in the nation, defeated Lin in the first round of the tournament.  

Lin earned the nickname “Golden Lefty” from his teammates after early success in his career.

“I trained for a year before my first tournament, and when I started, I was winning championships,” said Lin. “When I was winning championships, people started calling me ‘Golden Lefty,’ because I am a lefty.”

On the court, Lin said his left-handedness serves him well during matches.

“My biggest advantage is that I am a lefty,” Lin said. “It’s hard to play against lefties. My serve is the most aggressive weapon I have. My serve is as fast as some pros. I am also good at aiming at spots on the court where I want the ball to go.”

Left-handed players have “lefty spin,” which results in their forehand shots gaining more of a side spin than that of a right-handed player. Bergeron said left-handed players also have an edge because they may have more opportunities to hit forehand shots.

“Players are taught to hit towards the backhand, but with a lefty, you are actually hitting to his strengths,” Bergeron said. “[Bass’s] backhand is good, don’t get me wrong, but where a [right-handed player’s] backhand is, that’s where Bass’s forehand is.”

Bergeron said Lin’s ability enables him to play more loosely, which could result in either an impressive play or an unwarranted mistake.

“He can make a lot of flashy shots, and I think a lot of the matches he may not feel challenged,” Bergeron said. “He’ll pull out a couple of inadvisable drop shots in the course of the match, and he’ll look over at me and see me roll my eyes, but as long as he’s in control, it’s not problematic.”

Lin enjoys playing for Emerson and said he notices the team trending upwards.

“The team has a great atmosphere and everyone is chill,” Lin said. “We are getting better and I think we will be better next year with the new recruits.”

Freshman Maximo Lawlor, the No. 2 option on the team, is also undefeated in singles for the nine matches that count towards the team’s schedule. Bergeron said Lawlor’s intelligence prevents him from making mistakes.

“[Maximo] works his butt off, and is very smart on the court,” Bergeron said. “He knows what he does and he does it very well. He doesn’t break down, he doesn’t miss, and he’s going to cause a lot of problems for people.”

Lin said he hopes to maintain a positive team record and keep his personal winning streak alive. Lin said he wants the Emerson team to win a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference championship. The title has been awarded to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for each of the last 20 seasons.

“For this season I would like to keep our record positive and remain undefeated, but I know conference matches are tough,” Lin said. “Eventually, I would like to win a NEWMAC championship and remain undefeated during my time here at Emerson.”

Lin and the men’s tennis team will travel to Suffolk University for their next match on March 22.

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