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Women’s tennis: a look at their season during the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic

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The UCI Womens Tennis team got back together and held their first practice on Monday, October 19, where they reunited for the first time in months due to the possibility of their 2020-21 season starting. However, the UCI Womens Tennis fall season was eventually canceled for the 2020-21 academic year. Decisions for the 2021 dual match season have not yet been made, but the team is hoping for a full conference schedule.

The restrictions and regulations in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have posed challenges for UCI sports teams, including the UCI Womens Tennis team. This has made team chemistry practices and building different and difficult compared to previous years. Prior to the decision to cancel the season, the team had their first practice due to the possibility of their 2020-21 season getting underway.

Our first training went smoothly and we are now getting started. It is so nice to be back in the team environment where we learn, collaborate and work to make ourselves and each other better. It is a pleasure to see and be a part of it. There is something normal in our lives again, said UCI Womens Tennis Head Coach Elizabeth Ferris.

According to Ferris, the team experienced a range of emotions before October. For example, they were devastated when they learned that their highly anticipated trips to other states such as New Mexico and Delaware had been canceled. Before the pandemic hit, the team was excited to take advantage of all the progress they had made throughout the year, but that hope was dashed when the news about COVID-19 broke.

There were constant what-if conversations that became exhausting. I didn’t want to frustrate the team and create more confusion or concern by constantly updating them on what could be happening. I tried to provide updates only when there was concrete information, Ferris said.

Despite the circumstances, according to Ferris, the players have adapted well. She described that the team had quickly adapted to online learning, earning the highest department GPA during the spring quarter of 2020.

The players also continue to build a team bond, especially with the hardships they all go through this fall quarter. However, they have the highest priority to maintain health and to stay motivated, preparing for the future events for the rest of the academic school year.

With regard to applicable regulations and precautions, players test for COVID-19 twice a week, submitting symptom and activity trackers daily and having their temperature checked. Additionally, according to Ferris, the players have stayed in assigned pods and adhere to physical distance and mask rules.

Personally, the past seven months have taught me to procrastinate less. If something is important to me, I have to show it and find out, don’t wait! It also made me realize even more how strong and focused our team is and how much they care about each other. They don’t use anything as an excuse, they continue to pursue their goals, Ferris said.

Malia Nazario is a sports trainee for the fall quarter 2020. She can be reached at [email protected]

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