The arduous matches, the ones where his opposer is playing at the top of his game and competing at the optimum level, those are the ones Peter Murphy seeks out.
The three-time Class 6A state boys' tennis singles' champion enjoys the chase as much as he relishes the final result. Murphy approaches his training as if he's taking on the best tennis players in the country, building an indefatigable cardiovascular base that can withstand the toughest of conditions. He prepares himself for de facto three-set marathons that last hours and can fray one's nerves. The Jesuit star wants to play great tennis, but not against inferior foes or top opposition that plays poorly. He wants to be pushed, that way he's forced to play at a high level himself. No cupcakes, no mail-ins. And oftentimes, Murphy's presence alone causes his rivals to raise their respective games. Murphy lost the final of the Jesuit Tournament to Summit sophomore Nate Bonetto 6-2, 6-1, but bounced back and closed out the season in typically dominant fashion. Murphy's latest state title bout was Roseburg's Judson Blair wore on into an entertaining set. His battles with now graduated Westview star Luke Lemaitre pushed each player's physical and mental limits to the gills.
Jesuit head coach Jeff Wood says Murphy "wants his opponents to play better because he knows he can get more out of it". It's why he welcomes the Metro League's best shots week in and week out during the regular season. That desire is as much embedded in Murphy's DNA as his natural quicks and rapid reflexes.
In May, he won his third consecutive 6A boys tennis and Metro League singles titles. One month later, the Oregon Sports Awards' voting panel selected Murphy as its recipient of the Prep Boys Tennis Player of the Year award for the second straight year. Murphy becomes the award's first repeat winner since former Lincoln High star Goutham Sundaram received the honor each year from 2012-2014. 5A singles champion Alle Banna (Churchill) and 6A singles runner-up Judson Blair (Sprague) are the other finalists for this year's award. Murphy was the state's consensus top tennis player all spring. He entered the state tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and is a five-star class of 2020 recruit, according to United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Tennis Recruiting Network. He posted a series of impressive performances during the offseason in International Tennis Association (ITA), UTSA and club tournaments. Murphy won two USTA L3 singles titles before the start of Jesuit's season in March. He also claimed singles titles between August-January at the Pacific University Advanced Championships, Zimmerman/Johnson UTSA National Tournament and Lewis and Clark Advanced Tournament.
Murphy was a finalist, semifinalist or quarterfinalist in seven additional tournaments between August-January. His work in club tournaments and high school matches earned him the No. 8 overall RPI among juniors for the 2018-2019 season, according to Dunlop Sports. He remains active in ITA, USTA and club tennis tournaments and is currently listed as Universal Tennis' No. 12 overall prospect in the class of 2020.
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