2017-04-21 / Sports

Glad to have you back

BOYS’ TENNIS /// Moorpark Musketeers Brian Burr quit tennis after last year; now, he’s returned to Moorpark lineup
Jonathan Andrade
@J_ Andrade_ on Twitter


RETURN GAME—Moorpark’s Brian Burr hits the ball against Royal’s Kevin Daniel on April 11 on the road. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers RETURN GAME—Moorpark’s Brian Burr hits the ball against Royal’s Kevin Daniel on April 11 on the road. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Brian Burr wasn’t having fun playing tennis anymore.

Moorpark High’s boys’ tennis standout was fed up after the Musketeers went winless in league action last season.

The team’s top singles player quit tennis, a sport he’s loved since he was 8, before his senior year. He even stopped playing weekend tournaments, which he’d enjoyed since he was ranked as one of the top 30 youth players growing up in New York.

“I just wasn’t feeling motivated,” Burr said.

Burr, who moved to California before his freshman year of high school, spent the first half of this school year focusing on school and hitting the gym with his older brother, Michael.

Head coach Brian Friefeld, who is also Burr’s AP psychology teacher, said he didn’t want to force his pupil to return to the court, but he did give him some advice.


SERVING ACES—Brian Burr is a senior singles player for the Moorpark High boys’ tennis team, which returns to action April 25 at Oak Park. 
BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers SERVING ACES—Brian Burr is a senior singles player for the Moorpark High boys’ tennis team, which returns to action April 25 at Oak Park. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers “All I told him was he’s welcome any time and that he had to get his head screwed on straight,” Friefeld said. “I wasn’t going to allow him to come in and out. He had to be with us.

“I also told him, ‘If the decision comes to playing or not playing, which are you going to regret more maybe later on?’”

Moorpark teammates Dylan Boss and Collin Mitchell, juniors who team up as the top doubles tandem, tried to sway Burr’s decision.

“We told him we needed him,” Boss said. “He’s a big difference. He makes us a lot better.”

Burr contemplated his future with the Musketeers.


TALENTED ROOKIE—Cooper Davis is a freshman standout for Moorpark. Davis and rookie Conner Gilpatrick play doubles together. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers TALENTED ROOKIE—Cooper Davis is a freshman standout for Moorpark. Davis and rookie Conner Gilpatrick play doubles together. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Burr, who hadn’t picked up a racket since junior year, returned to the Moorpark lineup in time for the team’s league opener against Oak Park on March 28.

“Coach Friefeld made me realize it’s more about the enjoyment of the game,” the 18-year-old said. “You can get enjoyment through competing. It’s a new concept to me.”

Burr lost all three sets against the Eagles, but it didn’t bother him. He was just glad to be back.

“I just realized I could have a good time my senior year and try to finish off strong,” he said.

Burr only took one set against Camarillo in his second match before claiming five of his next six frames against Royal and Simi Valley. The senior entered the week 6-6 in league play.

“I’ve been improving ever since the beginning,” Burr said. “I’m starting to get my groove as the season goes along. Hopefully, by CIF I’ll be in top shape to qualify.”

Friefeld said Burr, who is 6-foot-3, has the capability to make a run during league finals, which are on May 2 and 3 at Arroyo

Vista Park.

“When his serve is on, it’s the best in the county,” the coach said of Burr. “He puts tremendous pressure on his opponents. He’s so aggressive with the way he plays. He’s fun to watch.”

While Burr said he wants to succeed, winning’s not his main goal. Going to battle with his teammates is rewarding enough.

“Outside of high school there’s no team aspect,” he said. “Having that makes it enjoyable and makes me motivated to play. If you’re struggling out there, there are teammates to support you. Our team is great at that.

“We may not be the best team, but we’re good emotionally with support.”

The winless Musketeers have benefited from having their star in the mix.

“It was a huge difference,” Mitchell said. “With him, we could come close to winning at least. He’s really helped us a lot.”

Moorpark battled Simi Valley on Thursday. A final score was unavailable at press time. The Musketeers wrap up the regular season at Oak Park on April 25 and at home against Royal on April 27.

Burr, the son of Jeannette and Christopher Burr, plans on attending either Long Beach State or Moorpark College after high school.

The team’s lone senior has made an impact upon his return. He’s helping the young players gain confidence on the court.

“I’m trying to be a role model first for some of the up-and-coming players, like Cooper Davis,” Burr said of the talented freshman. “I feel like I can show them what they need to improve on to show them they can get to a certain level.”

CATCH UP WITH THE MUSKETEERS

Moorpark continues to battle in the Coastal Canyon League.

“It’s been rough, but we have some youth,” said Collin Mitchell, a junior doubles player. “I think we’ll be better next year.”

Mitchell teams up with fellow junior Dylan Boss as the Musketeers’ top doubles tandem.

Ashwin Nambiar, a junior captain, plays alongside Steven Juana, a junior, at No. 2 doubles.

Rising star Cooper Davis, a freshman, teams up with fellow rookie Conner Gilpatrick.

Patrick Chun and Haroon Zia, both juniors, battle at singles.

Email Jonathan Andrade at jandrade@theacorn.com.

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