Like many Harvard students, sophomore Todd Meringoff thrives on pressure.
For most, however, beating that pressure means something like completing a term paper five minutes before deadline.
For Meringoff, it means entering the Rolex Intercollegiate Eastern Tennis Singles Championships as the number one seed and winning. Again.
"It was different this time because I was the top seed," Meringoff said.
With his victory two days ago over Dartmouth's Dan Coakley, 7-6(4), 6-2, Meringoff won his second straight Rolex title and qualified himself for the National Championships in February, a tournament he also competed in last year.
And although Meringoff said he was disappointed with his performance in that tourney last season, he said he's looking forward to playing in it again.
"My goal this year is to do better," Meringoff said.
All About composure
This season, along with the serve and forehand he considers his strong points, he's bringing a new weapon to the court: "composure".
"I always liked [competition] but I had the tendency to get nervous," he said.
At high-level intercollegiate competition, a simple case of jitters can prove fatal.
"Everyone there is dangerous," Meringoff said of his most recent tournament. "I felt like I was playing well, but every time I got nervous, they were waiting for me."
Working with Harvard's coaching staff, Meringoff has been putting in hours of practice to steady his game.
"This whole fall has been a turning point for me," he said. "I've found the right mindset on the court. My whole attitude has just changed."
That attitude showed on the court in Meringoff's defeat of Coakley in the Rolex Invitational final.