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Women’s Tennis: A Glimpse Into Their Season During the Nationwide COVID-19 Pandemic

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The UCI’s Women’s Tennis team reunited and held their first practice on Monday, Oct. 19, meeting again for the first time in months due to the possibility of their 2020-21 season starting up. However, the UCI Women’s Tennis fall season was ultimately cancelled for the 2020-21 academic year. Decisions for the 2021 dual match season have not yet been made, but the team is hopeful for a full conference schedule.

The restrictions and regulations in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic have presented challenges to sports teams at UCI, including the UCI Women’s Tennis team. This has made practices and building team chemistry 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 starting up.

“Our first practice went smoothly and we are now off and running. It’s so nice to be back in the team environment where we are learning, collaborating, working to make ourselves and each other better. It’s a pleasure to see and be a part of. Some normalcy is back in our lives,” UCI Women’s Tennis Head Coach Elizabeth Ferris said.

According to Ferris, the team experienced a series of emotions prior to October. For instance, they were devastated after learning their long-awaited trips to other states such as New Mexico and Delaware were cancelled. Before the pandemic hit, the team was excited to make use of all the progress they made throughout the year, but those hopes were swept away as 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 anxiety by giving them constant updates on what might happen. I tried to give updates only when there was concrete information,” Ferris said.

According to Ferris, despite the circumstances, the players adapted well. She described the team as having quickly adapted to online learning, earning the highest department GPA during spring quarter 2020,. 

The players also continue to grow a team bond, especially with the hardships they are all enduring this fall quarter. However, they’re main priority is to maintain health as well as staying motivated, prepping for the future events for the rest of the academic school year. 

In regards to the regulations and precautions in place, the players are testing for COVID-19 twice a week, submitting symptom and activity trackers daily and having their temperatures checked. Additionally, according to Ferris, the players have been staying in assigned pods and are adhering to physical distancing and mask rules. 

“Personally, these last seven plus months have taught me to procrastinate less. If something is important to me, I need to show that and get after it, don’t wait! It’s also made me realize even more how tough and focused our team is and how much they care for each other. They won’t use anything for an excuse, they continue to go after their goals,” Ferris said.

Malia Nazario is a Sports Intern for the 2020 Fall Quarter. She can be reached at mnazario@uci.edu.