Girls’ Tennis is ready to serve season of improvement


Deepa Gautam

Varsity Girls’ Tennis practices before game against Andover at Stony Brook. The game ended in defeat for the Ghosts 4-1.

Deepa Gautam, Features Editor

In sports, it is often the huge moments the winning touchdowns, the home runs, the last-minute victory shots that attract large crowds and celebration. However, the girls’ tennis team found itself celebrating the little victories this season, whether it means being allowed to share tennis balls and socialize during practice or cheering on their teammates during a tough match.

After two irregular seasons marked by social distancing and uncertain COVID regulations, the WA’s Girls’ Tennis team has been off to a strong start this season, winning two of the first three matches against Bedford and Chelmsford.

Since the team did not advance to the Division 1 State Championships last year, Coach Tracey Capone hopes the team will not only improve strategically, but also enjoy the smaller wins that come with a new season after COVID.

“We’ve already reached one of our goals which is simply to get out on the court and play,” Capone said. “We don’t have to worry about balls being numbered or using your ball instead of your opponent’s ball. We’ve been able to play tennis and do what we love.”

According to Capone, this dedicated mindset will make all the difference this season because tennis is largely a mental game. She notes that, while a strategic serve can go a long way, the long matches also require persistence and dedication against the opponent. 

The team also hopes to make their way to the state tournament, something they have not accomplished since 2017. Still, rather than pressuring themselves with the larger picture, Capone encourages the team to play “one point at a time”, fostering a love for the sport beyond score.

“You can’t coach the desire,” Capone said. “When they have the desire and they are willing to stay there [the match], that is key. You can’t teach that, and a lot of the girls on the team have that fire to compete.”

Similarly, senior captain Christine McKay is grateful that this season has allowed for more bonding experiences among the team. Reflecting back, she found that during her first year, the team’s endless support is what propelled her through her first games, even as a singles player.

“Tennis is known for being an individual sport, but it’s also really important to know your team and really support each other,” McKay said. “Mid-match, if I’m down love-three, or in a set, mentally knowing people are there for me really improves my game.”

In recognizing the impact of having a team experience, McKay is also working with other senior captains Anushka Patil and Ankita Akansha to develop a supportive  environment for the newcomer varsity players on the team. Sophomore Prajana Sriram, a varsity player this year, has found the welcoming spirit to be key for improvement. 

“On varsity, I feel like I have to give 100% to support my team, so it kind of makes me a better player,” Sriram said. “We also have a nice bond going on. We really support each other regardless of what’s happening in the match.”

In preparing for upcoming games, Capone also recognizes the importance of strategy and hard work towards a season of progress, emphasizing fitness this season. A typical practice consists of conditioning, dynamic workouts, and practicing on the court.

Capone anticipates their biggest challenge will be facing some of the stronger teams in the Dual County League, such as Acton-Boxborough and Boston Latin. With the previous home game on Friday, April 8th against Andover ending in a 4-1 defeat, the team hopes to continue improving and making smaller gains throughout the season. 

“We’re in the toughest league in the state,” Capone said. “[As we prepare] in the gym, if we have to go through those sets, or play those tiebreakers, they’ll be ready. We are working on the mental game and new strategies.”

Although the team is coming back from a season, they are excited to approach the rest of the season with a grateful and growth-oriented mindset. Whether it means bonding during practice and simply being able to have a season or winning exceptionally close matches, the group is proud of their accomplishments, just three weeks into the season. 

“We have a positive group,” Capone said. “They are eager to learn and they are willing to work hard. When you put those two together, anything can happen.”

The team will be facing Weston for their next away match on Wednesday, April 27 at 4 pm.