2023 NCAA Championships: Tufts' Sharda, CWRU's Aduru & Hopper win D3 individuals

Victoria Chiesa | May 21, 2023

Five days after Case Western Reserve University beat Tufts University for the 2023 NCAA Division III team championship, players from both schools walked away with winner's hardware to conclude the individual competition, as Tufts senior Rishabh Sharda and Case Western Reserve upperclassmen Vishwa Aduru and James Hopper won the singles and doubles crowns, respectively, on Sunday at the USTA National Campus.


Both matches were won in dramatic fashion: Sharda, the sixth seed, came from 6-1, 2-0 down to beat unseeded Matthew Kandel of Williams College, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, in singles, while No. 1 seeds Aduru and Hopper beat unseeded Michael Melnikov and Utham Koduri of Swarthmore College, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(5), in doubles.


Read more at usta.comCase Western men win school's first national title


After the CWRU pair led their team to the first team championship in any sport, they secured the third men's doubles crown in school history from 4-2 down in the final-set tiebreak.

"I think being down 2-4, the first thing that came to my mind was we've had a lot of setbacks this year in terms of being down a break or two in matches, third sets, being able to climb out of that," Aduru, a junior, said. "I just had full confidence in us. The first thing was just making returns, first-serve returns, making our serves as well, and once we did that, we knew if we crashed [the net] and put away volleys, we'd be able to come out on top.


"So just having that full belief in ourselves, trusting our instincts and all the practice time we've put in, and everything, is what I think made us come out on top."


Hopper, in fact, also won the title 12 months ago alongside Jonathan Powell, and he finishes his career in Cleveland as an eight-time All-American and one of the most decorated players in school history. 

At a historic, combined NCAA championships that brought all three divisions together at the same site for the first time, the Montgomery, N.J. native, who'll continue his academic and athletic career as a graduate student at the University of Virginia next year, had the unique opportunity to celebrate his triumph with his current and soon-to-be teammates simultaneously: He and Aduru clinched victory just moments before Virginia won its second straight Division I men's team title


"I think it was on that 3-4 point, where I'm returning, and I just heard a roar," he said. "I didn't know if it was Ohio State winning or I didn't know if it was Virginia winning, but I just—something felt good about it, that I just went into the return and I probably hit the best return of the match on that ball and that flipped the breaker.


"It was awesome. Like, they were pulling me on court, taking pictures with me. … Their sports network was linterviewing me a little and introducing me. It was just a crazy feeling, just that those guys are so welcoming already. I haven't even stepped foot on campus for a day, and they're already so welcoming. ... It was such a great, crazy feeling to go over there and celebrate with them."


Meanwhile, Sharda's win was the first individual men's tennis title in school history, after the Jumbos came up just short of their first men's team title in their first championship appearance. 


"It feels great. It's been a long time coming. I've seen a lot of very good Tufts players play these tournaments," he said. "We had a couple of guys who've come really close. Isaac Gorelik, last year, lost in the semis, Boris Sorkin made the finals a couple of times. But as coach says, it's history today, so I just feel amazing to be a part of that.


"Not everyone gets to finish their career with a win, right? So that feels amazing. It still hurts a lot that I couldn’t get it done in the team event. It was very close, had the opportunity to do it. I wish I played better tennis that day, but I guess that just fueled me to leave a better example in the singles event and just try to give it my best and I was able to do it."


Like his peers, Sharda, a native of Chandigarh, India, also lauded the single-site format.


"Coming from a Division III school, you don't really get this kind of exposure," he said. "You don't really see the [Division I] guys. We followed them all year. We've heard about the top guys so much and our coaches quote them in practices, wanting us to play like them. So it feels amazing. You see them walking right next to you, sharing the same locker rooms, playing on the same courts. 


"It's an amazing feeling. ... I respect and admire the NCAA so much for giving [Division III] the opportunity to be here with all the different divisions, and I wish they keep it going. It's amazing."


For more information on the NCAA Championships, including tickets, draws and schedule, visit the USTA's tournament homepage. For all the latest news from the Division I, II and III tournaments, visit's news landing page for the event.

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