DURHAM, N.C. – With the Duke men’s tennis team’s regular season coming to a close, senior Jason Lapidus recently played his final match inside Ambler Tennis Stadium. No stranger to Blue Devil tennis, Lapidus could make a strong argument for having spent the majority of his life at Duke’s courts.
Jason’s father, Jay Lapidus, was named the Duke men’s tennis head coach in 1991, and after an 18-year career at the helm, established the school record for most wins as the Blue Devil head coach with 371. On March 30, 1997, Jason was born, fitting as it was in the middle of the spring season for the Blue Devils, who went 22-8 that season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Jason’s love for the game started at a young age, as he credits himself as “being one of the elite towel and ball boys at the age of five” for the team.
“I still remember Jason running from court to court with Gatorades,” said Jay about Duke’s 2006 ACC Championship title match victory. “I still remember running to the group and Jason was in the pile.”
“I actually felt like I was a part of the team,” said Jason. “The players and alums we have had, they were so gracious and accepting of me. [I was] a kid running around trying to be like them. That’s something I will never forget. It played a huge role in my child development.
While he participated in other sports, including basketball and soccer, tennis was his true passion, something current head coach Ramsey Smith states about the senior.
“He knows more and cares more about the program than anyone his age and probably just as much as anyone out there,” said Smith.
The Blue Devils capped the regular season Sunday against Florida State and N.C. Central, a day in which Jason improved his career doubles mark to 71-54. The Bull City native recently etched his name into the Duke record book, as he surpassed Dylan Arnould’s 2007-2010 mark of individual ACC doubles matches played in a career with his 44th against N.C. State on April 10.
Jason will walk away from the program with double-digit victories in doubles play in each of his four years as a Blue Devil, including a career-high 22 wins his sophomore season. While doubles has been his staple, Jason helped out on the single courts when he had to. He has done quite well as of late, combining for a 19-13 record in his last two seasons.
“I’m excited to see where life takes him,” said Smith. “He has been well prepared and come through the program. He is going to do some really great things.”
Duke is set to face seven-seed Florida State Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C., in the ACC Championship. With a win, the Blue Devils will face two-seed Virginia on Friday at 11:30 a.m.