Before his team even took to the tennis courts for tryouts on March 1, Walter Johnson High School boys tennis coach Mike Lukaitis made the type of bold statement he typically avoids.
He had high expectations for senior Jordan Krasner.
“At the beginning of the season I said that I believed Jordan could win the state championship,” Lukaitis said. “I’ve never said that before about [any of my players].”
At 5-foot-6 Krasner doesn’t win matches by hitting through his opponents. He can match them stroke for stroke, Lukaitis said, but eventually will lose the battle of power.
But the four-year No. 1 singles player can slice and dice his way past anyone. And that’s not something most high-school tennis players are equipped to do.
Krasner’s game is built around tremendous foot speed — there are few shots he can’t track down — remarkable touch in the front court, craftiness with his slice and drop shots and overall court smarts.
“I think for smaller people you have to either be faster than people or play smarter than your opponent or just not miss ever because you’re not going to overpower them,” Krasner said. “It’s hard not to fall into that trap of trying to go toe-to-toe with someone. I like to mix its up. I never give my opponent the same shot twice.”
Krasner came into his own this spring and established himself as one of the Montgomery County’s finest. His 12-4 record included county tournament semifinal and Region II final appearances.
Three of his losses were to region champion Mateo Cevallos of Thomas S. Wootton — Krasner led 4-1 in the third set of his semifinal loss to Wootton’s No. 1 and 5-2 in the first set of the region final — the other was to undefeated Aries Wong of Walt Whitman.
Krasner’s region final performance earned him his first trip to the season-ending state championship.
His style of play is not something that can be taught. It’s rooted in natural talent, Lukaitis said.
“He has hands like [John] McEnroe. No one has touch like he does around the net,” Lukaitis said.
Rather than go straight to college this fall, Krasner is taking a year off school to pursue an internship and focus on high-level tennis training in attempt to play for a successful college program.
Lukaitis said that time will be beneficial for Krasner both mentally and physically.
“I think Jordan’s best tennis is yet to come,” Lukaitis said. “You see a lot of kids and you wonder how they can really get much better but Jordan possesses unbelievable potential.”