Eastside Prep’s Amar Kumar will compete in the 1B/2B/1A state singles tournament on May 29-30 at the Yakima Tennis Club. Photo courtesy of Kim Eng

Eastside Prep’s Amar Kumar will compete in the 1B/2B/1A state singles tournament on May 29-30 at the Yakima Tennis Club. Photo courtesy of Kim Eng

Eastside Prep’s Kumar swings his way to state tournament

Bellevue resident trains at Eastside Tennis Center in Kirkland.

Amar Kumar’s inaugural showing at the state singles tennis tournament may be five months away, but the Eastside Prep of Kirkland freshman continues to diligently work on his game to prepare for the big stage.

He trains in the high-performance program at the Eastside Tennis Center in Kirkland three to four times a week, competes in tournaments and engages in practice matches with friends.

“He’s had a passion for tennis since he was really young,” said Arti Kumar, Amar’s mother. “He’s very dedicated, 5 or 6 a.m., no matter what, he’ll get up and go, take him to practice or to the tournaments.”

When the Bellevue family was on vacation in Mexico and India, Amar looked for tournaments, and if there weren’t any on tap, he’d get in some practice on an available court.

One of Amar’s goals is to get his lefty serve zooming as hard as possible when the 1B/2B/1A state tourney rolls around on May 29-30 at the Yakima Tennis Club.

Kumar, 14, amassed a 14-2 No. 1 singles record last fall in 1A Emerald City League action and finished second at districts to earn one of the three league spots to state.

“I felt pretty confident going in. I also knew a couple of people, so that made the matches interesting. One of my friends, one time I played him and beat him in a tiebreak, and then he beat me in a tiebreak,” Kumar said.

Eight years ago at the Pro Club in Bellevue, Kumar’s dad signed him up for tennis classes and the youngster found the sport to be fun from the get-go. Today, he continues to enjoy running, hitting balls and implementing new tactics.

“You have to be in a good mental, positive state to win matches,” said Kumar, who tries to avoid the negativity he witnesses with some other players.

Kumar feels he delivers strong groundstrokes, thriving as a baseline attacker and when knocking volleys at the net.

Over the years, Kumar has succeeded on the advanced tournament scene, notching titles in the U12 and U14 divisions and now making his mark on the U16 circuit.

The Reporter asked Kumar a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

One is never give up. It may seem like a common one, but when you take it to heart, you have to just make sure you keep it with you. I have a tennis journal, so I just wrote that. It’s helped me in a lot of matches. (In one match at age 10, he was down 7-2 in one set and won 9-7, and recently he had another crucial comeback win.) For my coach Russ (Bucklin) for the school team, he also says, “Competing is about whoever’s best on that day.” That’s very true I’ve come to realize.

What’s your favorite move of all time?

“Avengers” or “Star Wars.”

What super power would you like to have?

To be able to teleport just to get places faster.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Rafael Nadal. He’s very driven and focused, which I admire.

What’s your favorite subject in school?

I really enjoy math, especially right now, we’re learning about quadratics.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

In tennis, this happens frequently in matches, when the ball hits the net cord and goes just over. It’s so annoying. You can’t do anything about it. Sometimes you can try, I’ve tried running for it before, ‘cause the ball, it just stops and goes over. I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” But when it happens (for) you, it’s fine… everyone says, “Sorry.”

Do you have any hobbies outside of tennis?

I really like art and drawing. I’ve drawn a lot of animals and I’ve sold them at a farmers market in Redmond. I’m working on digital art right now, that’s pretty interesting.

What’s your dream vacation spot?

I really want to see Wimbledon in England. I also like Manchester United, so I could also see a match.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?

I like Italian, so Tutta Bella or Olive Garden. I like pasta and pizza.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. File photo
WIAA modifies prep sports calendar; football moved to spring

Washington’s high school athletics governing body announced its revised plans for the… Continue reading

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports
WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.

Northwest University’s Ford signs with Seattle Mountaineers
Northwest University’s Ford signs with Seattle Mountaineers

The 6-foot-6-inch forward ended his senior season as the No. 1 rebounder in the nation with 12.03 rebounds per game.

Northwest’s volleyball team stays connected during trying times
Northwest’s volleyball team stays connected during trying times

The squad has been using Zoom to hold weekly meetings during which they check in and pray for each other if needed.

No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities
No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities

Due to the school closure extension, the cancellation includes all practices, competitions, tournaments and championships, WIAA says.

There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces
There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association making contingency plans for high school sports competitions after extension of stay home order.

The WIAA announced Wednesday that if schools reopen at the conclusion of the six-week statewide shutdown ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, then the state championships will go on as planned. (WIAA photo)
WIAA still hoping to hold state championships in May

But if the school shutdown extends past April 24, those championships could be in jeopardy.