Next fall, Sahil Deenadayalu will attend Case Western University, where he was recruited to play tennis. But for now, he’s a senior at Greenhills High School in Ann Arbor, where he lives with his parents—whom he describes as “funny” and “forward-thinking”—and “two cute, fluffy, white bichons named Coco and Louie.” The Indian SCENE caught up with Sahil to learn more about his life at school, his tennis career and the ways he deals with stress.
The interview has been edited for clarity.
The Indian SCENE: How would your friends describe you?
Sahil Deenadayalu: They would describe me as funny, athletic, smart, and fun to be around. They see me as a motivated individual, whether in the classroom, on the tennis court, or in other aspects of my life .
IS: What activities and clubs do you participate in?
SD: I am a writer for the Alcove, our school newspaper; I launched our school’s business club called DECA of which I am the president; I am the president of Greenhills Ambassadors, an outreach program that engages prospective students and parents with the school.
IS: How did you get interested in tennis?
SD: My parents introduced the sport to me. I first started playing at around 7 years old, but didn’t take it seriously until around 10 years old when I started to play tournaments.
IS: Have you ever felt any discrimination?
SD: I thankfully have never been a victim of discrimination, probably because we live in Ann Arbor, which is a very inclusive community.
IS: Who has the most influence on you and why?
SD: My parents, they have always supported me and pushed me to become the best version of myself.
IS: What does being Indian mean to you and why?
SD: What I like about being about Indian is that I have opportunities to engage culturally, to emphasize the Indian portion of being Indian-American. I have regularly participated in the MIAA Diwali show, and enjoy the friends and cultural connection.
IS: What will you be studying in college? And what’s your dream job?
SD: I will be pre-med. I am undecided on my major. I would love to be a doctor after I finish school.
IS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
SD: To focus on the things that only I can control.
IS: What advice would you offer to other students who are just beginning high school?
SD: Stay focused, make good choices, and most importantly, be true to yourself.
IS: What’s one thing about you that not many people know?
SD: I am an accomplished pianist: I play in our school’s highest honor jazz band and have composed four piano pieces.
Sahil’s Best List:
Favorite Restaurant: Umi Sushi (a local sushi restaurant in Ann Arbor.
Favorite thing to do with friends: Hang out at a house. I love being relaxed and not always doing a lot.
Favorite movie: Get Hard with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart
Favorite actors—Hollywood and Bollywood: Seth Rogen and Shah Rukh Khan
Favorite quote: “Concern yourself with the things you can control, and don’t worry about the rest.” My parents say this to me over and over.