General of the Week: Will Bannister, ‘17

Will Bannister, ‘17, has been playing great tennis of late, as he earned ODAC Player of the Week Honors for the week ending Mar. 26. He earned the honor by going 4–0 in singles play on the week and by leading his team to a 3–1 record on the week. He is currently riding a five match singles winning streak, as he has not lost since his match against Bridgewater on Mar. 21. The Phi recently sat down with Bannister to discuss his tennis game and other areas of his life.

Tanner Smith

Ring-tum Phi: With your hometown being Bath, England, why did you come to the states for college, and why specifically W&L?

Will Bannister: In England when you apply to universities you have to pick what you want to study before you turn in the application. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I decided to come to a liberal arts school where I could take several years to decide. Also, I wanted to keep playing tennis and British universities don’t have great sporting programs like the U.S. does so it made sense to look in the U.S. W&L was the best school that I got into.

Phi: What do you think your strengths are on the tennis court?

WB: I would say that my strength is my willingness to dig in and fight. I have a good record in winning three setters or coming back from a set down to win. I think that I don’t necessarily overpower people, but I just stick around on the court long enough to play my way into a match.

Phi: What areas are you constantly focusing on improving?

WB: The areas I am looking to improve are that I am always looking to hit a better ball and to play smarter. Over my four years my biggest focus has been playing smart points rather than trying to hit the hardest shot possible. I used to miss quite a lot but now I am more conservative and smarter and play more mature tennis.

Phi: What has driven your four match winning streak in singles:

WB: Out of the four matches we played three ODAC matches, so you essentially expect to win those as long as you play well. I had the good win against Carnegie Melon. Part of that win was that it was my Senior Day and I was down in that match and I felt like I couldn’t go down tamely. That was what allowed me to win that match. I had a bad weekend a couple of weekends ago against Mary Washington where I lost two matches that I would usually expect to win so that inspired me to refocus.

Phi: What has it been like for you switching doubles partners from Jordan (Krasner) to Charlie (Kittridge)?

WB: I have played with Jordan since sophomore year and we had a pretty good record. We were a good team and I enjoyed playing with him. It has been different playing with Charlie and I like playing with Charlie a lot. He is fun to have around on the court and I think he is very talented. When we are both on I think we are a very good team. The switch hasn’t been that difficult other than I would like to win a few more matches with Charlie. We have played some good teams and we had a good win against Mary Washington.

Phi: What do you think has been the highlight of your season so far?

WB: In terms of singles wins I would say my favorite one was definitely against Carnegie Melon. That was probably the highest ranked player that I have played, and I saved a match point and came back and won. That was probably my highlight in terms of singles wins. As a team I would say our win over Swarthmore was pretty good for us. We haven’t beaten them in the four years that I have been here so it was nice to finally put one over them.

Phi: What do you like doing off the court?

WB: I like soccer. I root for Arsenal so I follow them. Other than that I like just hanging out with friends.

Phi: Who would you say is your biggest role model and why?

WB: I would say Andy Murray because he is a British tennis player. My biggest inspiration from him is that he has a lot of pressure being the only good British tennis player and he is going for a record of years without winning a Grand Slam. He has had to play against all of these great players and he has still managed to become the No. 1 player in the world. For a British person he is a big role model for me.

Phi: What would you like to do after you graduate:

WB: I would like to go into consulting.