“I have friends in all the sports,” Sistrunk said.
“If you’re at the sporting event, and you’re not cheering on the team, why be there?”
Though Sistrunk’s personality often comes off as affable, don’t mistake that for carefree. That voice that can so loudly support his teammates can quickly turn into harsh criticism at himself when he’s playing badly.
After a lost match — especially against a weaker opponent — Sistrunk’s positivity can disappear entirely, replaced by a nearly silent, seething anger.
“He loves to win, that’s for sure, and he loves to get after it,” Waller said of Sistrunk. “But he can get down on himself too if he’s not playing well.”
Waller said Sistrunk has looked more composed this year than ever before, which is one reason he thinks Sistrunk could win a state championship this season.
Sistrunk said the backhand in tennis came pretty quickly, but the forehand and serve were tougher to learn.
Taking additional private lessons with Waller helped.
“He’s kind of molded my entire game,” Sistrunk said of his coach. “Anything I have, I owe to him.”
Sistrunk’s solid relationship with Waller has also meant Sistrunk will get to keep playing tennis after this senior season ends. Sistrunk will play for Seminole State College next year, and he said Waller first put him in touch with Seminole’s coaches.
“I really like the guys that are on the team,” Waller said of Seminole. “I’m a big fan of the dorms at the college, and it’s not too far away. Most (high school) seniors might not admit it, but I think we’re all scared to go off. ... It’s far enough away to where I don’t have to rely on my home, but I can come home if I have to.”