Tennis players start spring tennis season


Elyse Ladia

A photograph of the Chantilly Tennis team with Coach Patrick Condemi.

Kaylee Baek, Staff Writer

The tryouts started on April 12 and lasted for three days. Due to the small number of people who tried out this year, everyone made the team. Many players stressed with the workload and the pandemic are looking forward to playing more games with their team and being able to get outside more often.
“As a junior, I wasn’t sure about doing a spring sport because of AP testing and such, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen people my own age, and I figured getting out more might help me focus on my work,” junior Manya Phutela said.
While many players try to prepare by practicing with their family members, conditioning at home and staying fit, some who participate in other sports had little time to practice beforehand. This year, tennis practice is held every day after school from 4:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., but because the season has been so condensed, the tennis team has had very few practices with many games against other schools back to back. They have played against Centreville, Westfield, Madison and Oakton.
“I haven’t really been able to prepare for the season because, since the seasons are so close together, I had to jump straight from cross country to tennis,” sophomore Nikita Sirigiri said.
To minimize the exposure of COVID-19 in the tennis team, masks and social distancing have been required this year. Not only did the pandemic affect the training and games, but also the length of the season. Because of this, tennis players are playing two to three games a week and do not have a lot of time to practice.
“A shortened season would be pretty stressful for the top players, but as someone who generally doesn’t participate seriously in games, I don’t feel much pressure,” Phutela said. “I’m looking forward to the Oakton game if there is one since I have friends on the team who I haven’t gotten to see in a while.”
Tennis is also one of the sports that require effective collaboration. According to the website, Business Women Love Tennis, understanding each team member’s position, building confidence and trust, and creating a shared vision and purpose are all part of tennis. This is why this year, even with the coronavirus, players are still hoping to do their team rituals and spend time bonding over the season.
“I always loved the pre-game routine and hanging out with the team,” Phutela said. “We would get Panera bagels and some other snacks and hang out for a little before games, which was fun. I also miss Senior Night, where we got to make baskets for the seniors before their games.”
On May 3, they competed against Centreville again, bringing victory, as they play each of the schools twice. They are working to practice more often despite their tight schedules as they were given an opportunity to play this year even with the coronavirus.
“I wish the season was a little longer, but I’m just glad we can play this year,” Sirigiri said.