New courts to practice on, new coaches to practice under, and fewer teammates to practice with—these are among the many adjustments that have been made to the varsity tennis teams. Some changes, such as the court renovations, have been going on for a while others, such as the new coaches, came with the new school year.
In previous years, the tennis teams practiced at the school’s off-site location at the Seongnam City Courts. However, due to the current renovation of turning the original clay courts into hard courts, the team is temporarily practicing at Gachon University. After the renovation, the team will return to Seongnam City Courts mid-season.
“The new hard courts will allow us to have more players on the courts at once, which will save a lot of time,” said Cinji Lee (10), varsity girls tennis player. “They also allow us to play with more ease, as they have the appropriate amount of friction. The university’s courts that we are currently using are too worn down and have too limited of a space to share between both varsity teams.”
In addition to the renovations, both the boys and girls varsity teams will welcome new coaches Ricky Green and Kendall Sadler, respectively. Coach Green coached tennis for two years in New Zealand and has been learning tennis for the past four years. Coach Sadler was an assistant coach for three years at her previous school in Maryland. Both were impressed by the SIS team members’ dedication.
“[The SIS tennis teams], compared to my previous team in Maryland, are much more competitive,” Coach Sadler said. “They get a lot of training outside of school. Since their skills are already built up a lot, I’m focusing more on building the team members’ endurance and stamina, implementing more cardiovascular training.”
Another major difference in the varsity girls tennis team this year is the lack of female tennis players. While about 10 female athletes competed for a slim opening of spots last year, the tryouts were less competitive this year. The varsity girls tennis team is currently composed of seven players, but the ideal number would be nine. There are five positions that make a full team of three single players and two double-player teams. If there are not enough members to fill these positions, it is difficult to compete against other schools—usually the doubles teams’ games get forfeited. Due to this, it is crucial to have every team member, even in the relatively independent tennis.
“I want to work on building the actual team,” Coach Green said. “I want team members to support and cheer for each other. Our goal this season is to win the championship. I want to make sure each team member is focused every game, because I know they have the ability to win, but they may come into the game being overconfident or too nervous. Overall, I’m very positive about the upcoming season.”