Phillip Quinn has become one of the most decorated male tennis players in the history of the Highland Park program through a combination of serving, volleying, and psychology.
That last trait has been essential to Quinn’s unprecedented success in mixed doubles, in which he’s made four appearances at the Class 5A state tournament — each time with a different partner.
For Quinn, being a successful doubles partner is about learning what makes people tick.
“What makes a good doubles team is what motivates you and what doesn’t motivate you,” he said.
Prior to this spring, Quinn was a part of four state championships. Three of those came during team tennis season in the fall, and the other was a year ago, when he teamed with Madison McBride to rally for a three-set win in the title match — following a pair of runner-up finishes in each of the past two years.
[pullquote-left]“He cares about the team doing well more than just himself doing well. He’s just a good leader.” -Coach Dan Holden”[/pullquote-left]
“It’s just kind of evolved into that,” said HP head coach Dan Holden. Mixed doubles “has got a lot of intricacies and is a different pattern of play. He’s always enjoyed it and excelled at it. He’s very good as a teammate.”
As a senior, Quinn was the top singles player for the Scots during the fall before returning to his customary mixed doubles slot in the spring. He and new partner Katherine Petty were undefeated prior to the state tournament, and hadn’t dropped a set.
“She’s exactly like me. She doesn’t need motivation,” Quinn said of Petty. “That’s what has changed. I think it’s taken some of the pressure off of me.”
Mixed doubles has always been a critical component of HP’s legacy over the years. The Scots won the first state title in that division more than a decade ago, and have emphasized it since. Quinn has led the charge during the past four years.
“He has always been that take-charge person on his doubles teams,” Holden said. “He cares about the team doing well more than just himself doing well. He’s just a good leader.”
Next year, Quinn will play collegiate tennis at The Citadel, a military academy in South Carolina where he plans to enroll in the ROTC program. He eventually plans to become an Army intelligence officer.
“I always wanted to serve my country and give back,” Quinn said. “I love the tennis program and love the campus. It’s exactly what I wanted.”