Photo by Gerald Castillo
Hudson finds ways to fight back for San Marcos
Austin Hudson’s serve is in unstoppable. Until it isn’t.
The sophomore consistently uses it to get out of a jam. Head coach Michael Martinez noted it’s become one of Hudson’s best weapons.
“He’s got one of the best serves that we’ve have on the team,” Martinez said. “And that’s really catapulted his game because he’s able to hold his serve and at least be even with a guy until that guy makes a mistake and then he gets a break and able to close out the set.”
The break didn’t come on Tuesday in San Marcos’ 10-0 loss to Smithson Valley, though. Hudson led 5-4 against his opponent at the San Marcos courts and needed just one point to come away with the first set.
Hudson fired off a hard-hitting serve, but couldn’t keep it in bounds. He made the same mistake again on his next serve, resulting in a double fault and leading to a tiebreaker.
In the past, Hudson would’ve been shaken. As a freshman, he rarely matched up with a team’s top players and didn’t have a strong enough serve to hold off opponents when they began rallying to come back.
Over the summer, he sought to make major improvements. He attended the San Marcos Academy tennis camp in June to work on of his game.
“I fixed multiple technical things,” Hudson said. “They really helped me build my smartness about the game and get better at it.”
Martinez said Hudson’s development has been huge for the Rattlers this season.
“Last year, he’s was bottom of the lineup, not even – like an extra on varsity,” Martinez said. “And then this year, he’s really improved over the summer to jump up.”
Hudson played in San Marcos’ No. 3 spot on Tuesday heading into the tie-breaker. He’s stone-faced now, able to stay composed in every scenario.
Playing higher up in the team’s ladder has exposed Hudson to tougher, more seasoned competition. But he hasn’t let his lack of experience hold him back. He actually uses it as motivation. He knows now that he can hang with them.
“(Moving up the ladder) has definitely given me more confidence, playing these great guys out here from all these schools,” Hudson said. “Because, used to, I’d see them rally and I’d cower. But now I feel more confident in my skills as a player.”
The sophomore went on to win the tiebreaker, 7-5, taking the first set. His second set was cut short after the Rangers won their 10th match, but Martinez loved what he saw.
“(Hudson’s) definitely one to take it to his opponents, consistently, point after point,” Martinez said. “He’s one of the one’s that I’m looking to be a future leader on this team. He’s hot right now.”
Hudson and the Rattlers continue their district play on the road as they play East Central on Sept. 4 at 4:30 p.m.