Alana Baker

The SHS Tennis team prepares to serve up a successful season.

Adrian De Guzman, Activities Manager

The tennis teams kicked off their season on Feb. 1 with their first game and the girls winning overall against one of three schools they’ve faced, and the boys winning one of their two matches.Both coaches and players look forward to the upcoming season, and hope their teams will improve even more as the season progresses.

Seminole’s tennis teams are coached by Sue Gladman. Gladman now coaches both the girls and the boys, and notes that this year they have a very motivated team, though with many new faces. Despite this, Gladman sees these new players simply as a chance for their team to grow, and believes that after this year these new faces will be experienced assets to the team.

Tennis matches are organized into a total of seven games, five singles and two doubles. Schools win the whole match if they win four of the seven games, depending both on singles and doubles. Boys and girls play against their respective gender, and their games are independent of each other, so boys could win overall versus a school while the girls lose, and vice versa.

However, there’s not only competition between players of different schools, but also among the players themselves. In singles matches, Gladman is only allowed to play five students for the boys, and five for the girls.This means that at practices and before the games, players are already competing and attempting to be on that final lineup when the actual games come.

“Everyone is always pushing for [the] fourth and fifth spots, so the competition is pretty tough,” says junior Mujahid Jaffer, who plays the fourth spot, or line, for the boys team. The fourth and fifth spots are so important to players because they are the last to be picked to compete, so are subject to changing often. That means they are always open to players who apply themselves to the best of their abilities, which motivates much competition for the spot.

The players also face pressure when on the court, since the higher ranked you are, the better players you face. If you’re the number one spot, you face off against the opposing school’s number one; if you’re number two, you face their number two, and so on until all five players have had their matches. It’s particularly stressful for the number one spot, as they have to play both singles and doubles, putting more of the responsibility of winning on their shoulders.

“It’s horrifying,” says junior Chelese Washington, in regards to how it feels to play the number one spot. “The higher you go, the harder it is, the more pressure you feel. If you’re number one you don’t want to mess it up for the whole team.”

Games are run by the coaches and the students without any referees. Players call out rulings while playing, such as what to call in the lines of the court or not, cutting out the need for any referees.

“We’re going for it,” says Gladman. “Our [players] are primed and ready, and now is their time to shine.”