AOI: Tara Bhandari ’21


Izhaar Rosa '22

Tara Bhandari ’21 plays tennis on the school courts.

Tara Bhandari ’21 is a three-year Senior and co-captain of the Girls Varsity Tennis team.  Teammate Rena Peng ’22 said, “Tara has been a truly inspirational teammate and captain. She pulls through in every tough match by giving her best, even if she’s down in the game. When I’m not feeling confident about my matches, she is always there to give advice and uplift me. We’ll really miss her and our other captain Meghana next year.”


How does Varsity Tennis’s success in 2019 compare with this year? 

We had a very different dynamic compared with two years ago, when we won the Founder’s League. This year, all the matches are like exhibition matches, so it’s kind of hard to compare the two. Everyone’s super close with each other, and I think it’s more focused on team bonding than competition, which I  really like because we could focus on getting to know each other rather than on winning.


What challenges have you faced this year?

I think the main challenge was having Saturday and Sunday matches, because in tennis you play two matches – doubles and singles. That means four matches per weekend. That was a lot for everyone, because traveling back and forth from other schools is really tiring. We really handled that well; we played music on the bus just to keep our spirits up.


How do you think the school has helped you improve as a player? 

I think Hotchkiss has helped me improve in terms of leadership. I was the captain this year, and I didn’t have much experience being a captain beforehand, because last season was cut short. I had to go off [the example set during] my first season here as a Lower Mid, but I had great captains then – Savi Roberts ’19 and Ginny Barnes ’19. I learned a lot from them, because they were always encouraging everyone to stay positive. I tried to put that into my own leadership style, so that I could encourage the girls to play their best games.


What was a favorite memory or highlight from this season?

My favorite memory was Senior day, because Meghana and I thought the team didn’t even realize it was Senior day when we came to practice. It was really nice to see the banners up and the little notes that people left, because you don’t realize how much of an effect they have on someone until you read the notes for yourself. The notes were about little things that they really looked up to us for. It was really nice to see how much they cared and how much we had an effect on the team.