Anthony Zaleski is mad about tennis. He follows all the professional tournaments, knows the statistics and has journals piled high in his bedroom dedicated to tennis.
The Andrean senior even hopes his future children will be Olympic tennis players.
It comes as no surprise that Zaleski spent his last two summers teaching tennis to children. Most recently, the Munster resident helped give tennis clinics for the Whiting Parks Department, and has helped 59ers coach Don Gobbie with junior tennis instruction.
"It's something I could give back," Zaleski said. "Tennis has given me everything. I love it more than anything. It's life for me."
Last year, as the No. 2 singles player, Zaleski helped the 59ers win the Merrillville Sectional championship, which included tough, 3-2 wins over Hobart in the semifinal and the host Pirates in the championship match. It was Andrean's first sectional championship since 2002. The 59ers also finished second in the Northwest Crossroads Conference to perennial powerhouse Munster.
Now, Zaleski is in a platoon for No. 1 singles with Jake Brown and Michael Kinasiewicz. Zaleski plays No. 1 singles about 50 percent of the time.
Jake McCoy graduated from that 59ers sectional championship team, so Zaleski has needed to gain confidence in his abilities in order to help fill that void. Gobbie said he has seen a great deal of improvement in Zaleski this season.
"He's more confident in his forehand, swinging through the forehand more," Gobbie said. "His serve has improved, and it's more powerful. He can run a lot of balls down."
Frustration would set into Zaleski during matches prior to this season, especially if he missed a shot; a negative feeling on the court would impact how he played. Zaleski knows the ins and outs of tennis, so he knew changes needed to be made.
"I'm confident and more sure of myself," Zaleski said. "I always felt I had (the shots), they're just hidden away."
Zaleski has drawn some interest from Division I and II college tennis programs, but his focus is clearly on academics. With plans to be a psychiatrist, colleges like Michigan, William and Mary and Indiana are high on his list to attend.
For now, however, Zaleski is concentrating on the rest of his senior tennis season.
"I just want to have a positive season and play well," he said. "I want to feel good playing, win or lose. I want to win sectionals, of course."