Despite less frequent matches and COVID-19 guidelines, players like Maddy Russow (above) look forward to their new season.
Photo Provided by MU Athletics

First Matches of Tennis Season Begin 

Claire Butler

While Covid-19 has thrown new obstacles with every turn, the Manchester tennis team has been able to make the most of their unique season and focus on the positives.

The team has been following the CDC recommendations of social distancing, wearing masks at all times and sanitizing often. The tennis team has even been able to schedule a few matches this fall since tennis is considered a lower risk than most contact sports.

“The lack of competition really hasn’t affected tennis too much because we still have some matches planned,” says team member Maddy Russow. “But having less matches has given us more time to practice so that’s been a bonus.”

Without the pressure of matches and the thought of conference, the team has been able to train more stress-free and have some more fun with each practice. The few matches that are still in place have given them the excitement of competing without the stress that conference can bring.

The women’s tennis team had their opening match against Grace College on Sept. 14, which was the first of the five matches they have lined up. They will go against Trine next and are excited to be involved in matches despite them being less frequent and in masks.

The men’s tennis team starts their season off Sept. 22. Fans can still go to matches and support the tennis teams, but are required to wear face masks at all times and must stay socially distanced. They are encouraged to bring their own seating to make it easier to keep their distance from the athletes and fellow fans.

Despite wearing masks at all times and social distancing when off the court, the team has still been able to grow together and form that connection and team spirit.

“We’ve been able to do some socially distanced team bonding and have a lot more practice time together, and so we’ve still been able to grow together!” Russow said with enthusiasm.

One of the biggest challenges is keeping a mask on at all times while trying to practice tennis. While this has been a challenge for everyone on campus, it has been even more of a struggle for athletes. But the athletes’ dedication to tennis and the positive attitude has made the transition less difficult.