A solid comeback game: Brookline’s Jayanth Devaiah is back and dazzling on the courts again



“Families come to games just to watch,” Brookline coach Mike Mowatt said. “A lot of fans [on Tuesday] were just kind of like, ‘Wow!’ and they just looked at me and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ There are a lot of pedestrians. »

It doesn’t matter if he’s representing Brookline at Dean Park, where he fell in love with the sport as a young boy, or if he’s in California competing as an individual in the USTA Junior Easter Bowl tournament at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. . , the University of Notre Dame-linked Devaiah doesn’t shy away from attention.

In fact, he relishes it.

“I feel like I thrive the more people are watching, so I love being on that center court with people watching,” Devaiah said. “I feel like I’m raising my level and it’s really fun.”

As Devaiah captures national attention — he ranks third in New England and 60th nationally according to the latest weekly rankings on tennisrecruiting.net — he firmly holds the Bay State’s Most Valuable Player title, a designation which he earned during his perfect high school career. .

Devaiah burst onto the scene as a rookie to help guide Brookline to a Division 1 state title playing second singles. After his sophomore season was canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020, he dominated last spring in the first singles, propelling the Warriors (20-0) to their third consecutive Division 1 title.

Since his arrival, he has been a catalyst for Brookline, which has extended its winning streak to 62 straight games after opening this season with 3-2 and 5-0 wins over Wellesley and Marblehead, respectively. While his undefeated high school record is enough to impress tennis fans across the state, those closest to Devaiah marvel at his intelligence, athleticism and ability to alter the way a set is played.

“I’ve coached a lot of Division 1 players and a few professionals, but he stands out for his understanding of the game,” said Troy Crichlow, a 1999 Milton Academy graduate who played at Georgetown and was the coach. Devaiah staff ever since. he was 5 or 6 years old.

“He understands how to take people’s time better than anyone I’ve ever coached and he understands that applying pressure can create mistakes instead of sitting and waiting.”

Mowatt added: “He has the overall game that he can win at net or win from the baseline, but his defensive ability is phenomenal. I’ve seen managers pretty much every game shake their heads at what balls they can get.

Count longtime Newton North coach Phil Goldberg among the opposing coaches who leave impressed every time they watch Devaiah play.

“He makes all the right decisions,” Goldberg said. “He knows when to add pace and when to absorb pace. He has good hands and can hit all shots.

The scariest part? Devaiah recognizes – and embraces – the reality that he can still improve. Alongside Crichlow and his second personal trainer, Gaurav Malhotra, Devaiah has spent much of this past offseason refining his forehand and serve.

The elder always believed his backhand was above average, and now he’s convinced his improved forehand and serve will make him even deadlier.

“Those are things that after last year I wanted to focus on and work on to make my game more attacking and weaponize those two shots,” Devaiah said. “This year, it has improved enormously and I feel that I can count on my forehand and my serve to intervene and win points. I feel like I can adapt to different playstyles and I feel like I have the ability to counter anyone.

Even though Devaiah admits that performing well on the USTA Tour is his main goal, he is still determined to finish his high school career strong. He not only wants to maintain his undefeated individual record, but also help Brookline continue their undefeated streak to a fourth straight state title.

“I think about it sometimes, but overall I just try to stay in the moment and take it one game at a time,” Devaiah said of his perfect individual record and Brookline’s unbeaten streak. . “I hope to finish [high school] without losing, but rather hopefully we can win another state championship.

Jayanth Devaiah helped Brookline to a 3-2 early season win over Wellesley, extending the Warriors’ winning streak to 62 games.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

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