Forehands, backhands, and masks help the athletes begin the tennis season


Varun Gullapalli

The girls tennis team competes at home against Wauconda High School on September 17, 2020.

Girls tennis is one of the few sports able to play this fall with the brand new IHSA guidelines.  Masks have to be on at all times and hand sanitizer has to be constantly be used. That, along with a lack of hugging, high-fiving, and handshaking, these changes appear to be very overwhelming. But with a record of 2-2, these guidelines aren’t stopping the team from enjoying their season.

“Obviously we want to win,” said head coach Jill Tomasello.”Everything takes just a little bit longer than what we normally would do. When students come we have to do their thermometer checks. We have to ask them a series of questions; we have to record all those answers. We have to make sure that we’re sanitizing before we enter the courts; we have to make sure that we sanitize every 15 to 25 minutes before we’re back on the courts.” 

Following the guidelines are very tedious, but they are necessary for the safety of the players and the integrity of the team. Due to the regulations, athletes can’t touch the balls when practicing serving and must wear gloves. However, those changes are the reason why a team consisting of 40 players can play the sport without the fear of getting infected.

“I definitely think the safety precautions are worth it,” said sophomore Bella Moran.”I myself thought that, just for a sec, that I might have COVID. But I knew for a fact that I did not get it from being at tennis because of how safe we were”.

Along with the safety precautions, another major change has come to tennis due to the pandemic. The amount of people on the team has increased to the point where it nearly doubled. Many athletes from cheer and volleyball, whose seasons have moved, have decided to pick up tennis due to their interest in the sport.

“I had no clue what I was doing,” said sophomore Angela Caliendo.”I’ve never done anything like it before. I’ve never hit a ball with a bat…I was nervous to go to tryouts. I was like wow everyone else knows what they’re doing and I don’t.”

Even though starting a brand new sport can be overwhelming, the girls tennis team has handled it by creating a JV2 team and having boys tennis coach Jim Sarver coaching this year as well. This positive yet competitive environment along with the seasoned coaches has allowed the brand new players to truly develop a passion for the sport.

“I chose tennis because it was the most fun, and it didn’t look boring,” Caliendo said. “I actually look forward to practice every day.”

This year has seen a lot of changes in everyday activities, and sports have not been spared. 

“Patience and flexibility are key,” said coach Tomasello. “We’re kind of like the guinea pigs for all sports this year, and we’ve had a lot of things that have been implemented and then changed and then redone again and changed back. So I think flexibility and patience are key, and I know that’s a hard thing even for myself at times, but in order to just roll with it is the best way to enjoy the season.”