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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Waikiki Beach
Blue Devils in Paradise: Day 6
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/12/2017
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During each day of the men's tennis team's trip to Hawai'i, a member of the Blue Devil squad will offer his thoughts on the experiences. Day six features sophomore Jason Lapidus recapping Wednesday. 

Duke Men’s Tennis Supporters,

I am writing to you from my hotel room balcony just having finished up our 6th day in paradise and last day of tennis competition. Looking at the previous posts from my teammates, I decided I wanted to dedicate my blog post not to the unbelievable activities that we are so fortunate to do while we are here in Waikiki, but towards the people that make this trip and our lives as Duke tennis student-athletes so incredible.  So here I go:

First off, without a doubt the reason we are in paradise is because of the Hills Family. Greg and Jane have done, and continue to do, so much for our program that really goes unnoticed. Their generosity and kindness is unlike anything I have ever seen. Growing up around the Hills family, I have seen how much they care about Duke and each and every one of us involved in the tennis program.  We are truly blessed to have them behind us -- pushing and inspiring us to be great.

Ramsey [Smith], Diego [Garavito], and Jonathan [Stokke] are some of the most devoted and smartest coaches in the country. I have personally seen on this trip Diego and Jonathan staying up past 4 a.m. Durham time watching, analyzing and uploading our match film to our database purely to make us better. They could be enjoying Kalakaua Avenue or the Hawai'i nightlife, but instead they want to watch our tennis to make us better. We as players as lucky to have them as our leaders.

Melissa [Gresham] is the GOAT. She is always there to treat us for any on-court or on-paddleboard injuries. It’s amazing how dedicated and driven she is to making sure we are feeling our best in matches. She also suffered a casualty to her iPhone this week to water damage, so props to her from surviving without that. I, for sure, could not.

Coach [Dan] P[erlmutter] is the rock - literally he is made out of chiseled stone. Though we haven’t been doing as much strength and conditioning work with him on the trip, he has been leading us through all of our warm-ups, cool-downs, and off-court fitness (for those not playing in some matches). He also supplies the team with great stories, multiple metal grip strengtheners, National Geographic caliber photography skills and a sophisticated, yet swaggy, taste in music. We wouldn’t be nearly as strong or in shape on court, or look as attractive as we do on the beach, without him.

Greg Dale, as every athlete at Duke knows, is THE MAN. We have met with him as a team and individually multiple times in the fall and had a great team meeting with him last night that allowed us to really connect and be vulnerable to our teammates and coaches. He really understands how our minds work both on and off the court and continues to provide us with all the support we need to excel mentally.

I thought Sarah Fetters was awesome with all of our social media and GoDuke work last spring, and now I have now seen her in action on this trip. She’s the team photographer, team stat keeper, team article writer, team interviewer, team social media guru, team everything ... She has allowed TJ [Pura] and me the opportunity to help run our team Instagram page (@DukeMTen if you have yet to give us a follow), and we are relishing our role as Insta-Savants. She is so influential to our supporters, and to us as well.

Jeremiah [Walker] helps us with school. He’s also a cool guy. One time he got me a tutor for my Psych class. Yep. He’ll appreciate my simplicity in this segment about him – I hope.

I know there are people that I definitely left out of this post – I had a word count to stay under ... I promise. But to the people I mentioned above, and everyone involved in our lives as student-athletes, Thank You. We really do appreciate it.

I figured you would be able to see our match report and scores on already, but we did have a great match against LSU this morning with great performances from all the guys (especially from two of our rookies – Spencer [Furman] and Nick [Stachowiak]).

This afternoon we once again hit the beach for some sandcastle constructing and relaxation. For dinner we enjoyed a great players' only meal at Doraku, a fresh sushi spot. Basically, it was another great day in paradise.

We can’t wait to spend a few more days in Hawai'i before returning back home to Durham, both tan and ready to take on the dual match season. Go Duke!

Jason Lapidus