As the men’s tennis team opens its fall tournament season this weekend, get the chance to get to know one of its top players, junior Alistair “Ali” Felton. In this exclusive interview, Felton reveals his coach’s addiction to a sandwich store, how tennis has prepared him for Quidditch, and his thoughts on the 2008 women’s French Open champion. Every week, The Full-Court Press will give you the sort of personal scoop that you’re not likely to hear at a typical press conference.
Name: Alistair Felton
Stats: Last year, Felton went 6-8 in tournaments and 11-10 (6-2 Ivy) in dual play; he was positioned as high as the No. 2 court during the season. In doubles, Felton went 11-7 in fall tournaments, and 15-6 (5-1) in the spring. He will begin this season at the Northeast Invitational in Providence, R.I., this weekend.
Now, to the questions!
1. Typical pre-game meal.
For home matches, it'll be pasta and whatever HUDS cooked up. If it's an away game, we usually end up at the sandwich shop Jimmy John's, as our coach has a mild obsession with that place.
Published by Kate Leist
on September 20, 2010 at 3:11AM
While 21,704 fans filled Harvard Stadium to cheer the Crimson football team to a 34-6 win over Holy Cross on Saturday night, one famous alumnus got a bird’s-eye view.
Actor Tommy Lee Jones ’69—who played on the offensive line in Harvard’s famous 29-29 “win” over Yale in 1968—appeared in the press box in the second half and stayed there until close to the end of the blowout.
Jones, who was a first-team All-Ivy selection as a senior, kept it low-key in the press box, mainly chatting about the Crimson squad and the strength of the Ivy League with athletic director Bob Scalise. He also good-naturedly shook hands with a few of the coaches who came over to introduce themselves.
Although the Oscar winner is most famous for his roles in films like Men In Black, No Country for Old Men, and The Fugitive, Jones also was featured in the 2008 documentary Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the famous tie.
In the modern era of sports, being a college coach carries with it the burden of constant media attention. Facing dozens of reporters at press conferences, head coaches have gotten more savvy—they say what they need to and leave the rest up for speculation. Here at The Back Page, we’re happy to decode some of these media sessions, showing the average fan what we think coaches’ answers “really” mean.
The Harvard football night game got plenty of press for the quality of play from the boys in Crimson. Senior Andrew Hatch and freshman David Mothander earned player and rookie of the week nods, respectively, and the 34-6 drubbing of Holy Cross appeared to stem from the home team’s all-around solid play. But there was one man who wasn’t ready to give Harvard all the credit. Holy Cross coach Tom Gilmore largely attributed the lopsided score to the Crusaders’ deficiencies in this edition of Sound Off.
Yesterday the Harvard College Alliance for Africa held the third annual Fast Tracks for Africa 5k race on the Charles River bike path to benefit the Harvard Pemja Scholarship Fund. One of Harvard's very own professors of Human Evolutionary Biology, Dan Lieberman, centers his research in his skeletal biology lab on the benefits of running barefoot in contrast to runner who use typical modern running shoes. According to Lieberman’s website, these modern shoes have features such as “built-up heels, stiff soles and arch support.”
His work has led him to the Pemja Primary School in the Western Rift Province of Kenya. The proceeds of this weekend's run will help to support the Scholarship Fund’s goal of sponsoring children at the Pemja Primary School so that they can continue on to higher education.
The start of the football season is just hours ahead of us, but before we delve into a whirlwind 10-game season, The Back Page took some time to check in with Harvard coach Tim Murphy to talk about the Crimson’s upcoming opponent—Holy Cross—the benefit of night games, and the looming concern about ongoing concussions. On Monday, look for Murphy’s sound off about Harvard’s opening effort on the gridiron.
What Murphy said: “Obviously having the benefit of playing their third game, [Holy Cross has] worked some kinks out. I think they know where they are [personnel-wise], they’re probably a little bit more disciplined than you are the first game in terms of penalties and things like that.”
What Murphy means: On paper, the Crimson should be a better team than Holy Cross. The Crusaders lost their NFL-caliber quarterback Dominic Randolph to graduation, and, following a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of Massachusetts, the team does not appear strong coming into tonight’s contest. Nonetheless, “discipline” goes a long way early in the season, and Murphy will have to make sure that his players are ready for a well-prepared opponent. It would be shocking if this game were a shootout with both squads breaking in new quarterbacks, so, as Murphy emphasized in the preseason, mistake-free football will prove key for a victory under the lights.