Tennis duo claims state championship

Juniors Sanjheev Rao and Milla Dopson make Frisco ISD history

Winning+the+UIL+5A+mixed+doubles+tennis+championship+on+Thursday%2C+April+28%2C+2022%2C+juniors+Sanjheev+Rao+and+Milla+Dopson+lost+just+four+games+in+the+state+tournament.+The+duo+became+the+first+team+to+win+a+mixed+doubles+championship+in+Frisco+ISD+history.+

used with permission from @GraceMcDowell30

Winning the UIL 5A mixed doubles tennis championship on Thursday, April 28, 2022, juniors Sanjheev Rao and Milla Dopson lost just four games in the state tournament. The duo became the first team to win a mixed doubles championship in Frisco ISD history.

The Redhawks tennis team finished their season strong at the UIL 5A state tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Texas A&M-George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, with juniors Milla Dopson and Sanjheev Rao taking the state championship in mixed doubles and freshman Hailey Zhang playing in her first state tournament.

We felt really really good about it before we even walked on the court. But it’s still a shock,”

— junior Milla Dopson

Rao and Dopson are the first team in Frisco ISD history to win a mixed doubles championship, a milestone years in the making. .

“[Sanjheev Rao] and I have played the past three years together and we go to the same academy too, so we were always around each other,” Milla Dopson said. “We have that bond and we just were working really hard. I don’t want to say we were expecting it, but we were. We felt really really good about it before we even walked on the court. But it’s still a shock.”

Unable to compete in the state tournament last year, competing at state this year meant even more for Rao.

“It was a great feeling. I’ve been waiting for this moment for two years. I didn’t get to participate in state last year due to an unfortunate incident, but I got to go back out there this year,” Rao said. “Lots of fun seeing all my friends from other schools around the state. We spent a couple days there. We were all in the same hotel, and there was a lot of energy.”

Although she didn’t win, head coach Erica Dopson thinks falling short in her first appearance at state could pay off in the future for Zhang. 

“Hailey has had so much success as a freshman and lost to the winner of state,” coach Dopson said. “It was a new experience for her and I know it has given her motivation for the future. I know she will have much success in her future tennis.”

It was a great feeling. I’ve been waiting for this moment for two years,”

— junior Sanjheev Rao

Losing to the state champion in the opening round isn’t what Zhang wanted, but it may help her as a sophomore. 

“It was definitely a very fun and different experience than what I thought it would be,” Zhang said. “Although I believe I could have done better, I still think it was good for me so I can be better prepared next year.”