As athletes begin returning to campus this fall, many have had their seasons canceled or delayed until the spring due to the ongoing battle against COVID. For tennis, however, the men’s and women’s teams for GU will be looking to make advances in the fall and come out of this pandemic better than before. Men’s and Women’s tennis coach Brett Brannon talked about some of the dynamics of the team as they begin to train here on campus. They are able to practice Monday through Friday during September, so big improvements are bound to be made in this time frame. Along with being able to practice every day, Coach Brannon mentioned how the current state of living is actually bonding the team for the better. “The adversity caused by COVID is causing our [men and women’s] teams to draw closer.” The Greenville University campus is currently in a “Red Phase” of the school’s COVID protocols. In this phase, simply put, the interaction of any sort is mostly limited to classes and sports only. Brannon said, “Practice is all they have right now.” The escape of tennis for these players this year could prove to be an important time for improvements and progression as not only these teams look towards the spring with better hopes, but fans and coaches too.
With the time the team has together in the offseason, Coach Brannon intends to utilize this window to keep the players fresh and in a game-mode mindset, while also working on the details of their games. When asked how he plans to keep the teams locked in this fall, he said they will play more matches against each other rather than just drills and training. He hopes to see these live matches serve as a consistent in-game tool for these athletes to improve and work on the mental aspect of these game-time situations. Although they are able to stay fresh now, the timetable for their season in the Spring is still looming in the air. For conference play and tournament, Brannon explained, “The NCAA isn’t saying anything about if we can or can’t play.” Coach also mentioned that with this in mind, it is much harder to keep players focused without a specific target to aim for. Both men and women’s teams were originally scheduled to play 5 games each this fall, but have since been canceled due to safety reasons with COVID.
As of right now, there is no schedule for the GU tennis team in the spring. With many things still up in the air not only with this team but their own lives as well, Coach believes this is still a great time to be able to get outside of the new normals of our world to prepare and hope for the best. “We can’t control when we can play matches, but we can control how much we prepare during this time. All teams are dealing with the same thing, we can gain an advantage from working harder than them [right now].” Be sure to look out for new articles about the tennis teams as the Papyrus follows them this fall.
Media by Seth Isringhausen.