By Danielle Nelson
*This article is posted on The Temple News website.
Senior Jordan Batey, of the women’s tennis team, retrieves a ball during practice on the recently renovated courts at 15th and Norris streets. | Jacob Colon TTN
The men’s and women’s tennis teams were prone to injuries when they practiced and played home matches on the outdoor courts last year.
“The courts that we had last season had dips,” said Rebecca Breland, a junior on the women’s tennis team. “It was hard. We were sliding all over the place when it rained.”
For now, the problem is solved. The teams now have a total of six tennis courts to play on this season. In addition to the previous four courts, two newly renovated back courts, which were unplayable for the past two years, were repaired. The color of the surfaces was also changed from red to blue.
“These are so much better,” Breland said. “They are all even. The balls come a lot better than they did last year. It’s a lot better and it looks a lot better. I like these colors better than the red.”
The excitement of having access to newly refurbished courts resonates with athletes on both teams, especially considering that last season there was a strong possibility that the courts would be replaced with another building.
“Last semester, I heard a lot of conversations about them wanting to build a library over here,” senior Yana Mavrina said. “So we were not supposed to have these courts. Once I found out that they were going to keep the courts, I was like, that is great because we don’t have to waste time driving 30 minutes to play on another court. Every minute is valuable, especially [because] we have four seniors on the team this year.”
As recently as last season, the men’s and women’s tennis teams struggled to accommodate all of the athletes on the four courts while training.
“We practice at the same time from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and having only four courts was not comfortable because we have 10 girls and eight guys, so it would be really hard for us,” Mavrina said.
“Before, it was harder to play with only four courts when you [are supposed to have six courts for] six singles matches,” Breland said. “So it was always harder when you have four courts because two people would always have to sit out, which would take the matches a lot longer to get going, because they had to wait for whoever finished first. We had to squeeze somebody in on the side or in the corner somewhere on the court. We didn’t really have enough space to practice for our singles matches.”
Once the final decision was made to keep the courts, school officials began repairing the courts when school resumed for the fall semester.
“I think Temple realized that we needed them in order to compete with the other teams in the conference,” Mauro said. “We needed to have six playable courts. The back two courts needed to be resurfaced because they had a lot of cracks throughout the courts. They repaired all the cracks and resurfaced it.”
Since the quality of the courts have improved, players who played at the fifth and sixth flights will no longer have to wait for a court to play on during matches.
“I am really excited because I get to play with everyone now and hear the cheers from the crowd,” sophomore Sam Rundle said.
Breland said she believes the new courts symbolizes a new start and will open an array of opportunities for the teams that were not available in the past.
“I feel like now that we have the two new courts, all the new courts, we can probably start hosting a lot more matches,” Breland said.
In addition to the six renovated tennis courts, Mauro said the tennis teams will also use another court this season, which was used for roller hockey last year.
The women’s team will make their fall season debut this weekend in the Cissie Leary Invitational at the University of Pennsylvania.
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