Following in Tech tradition, club tennis on campus sets the bar high. Under Coach Elizabeth Kilborn, who played varsity tennis at Tech from 2009 to 2012, last year club tennis made it to nationals for the first time in five years and won their bracket.
This year club tennis started off making it to the gold bracket and placed fifth overall in last week’s tennis tournament in Murphey’s Borough Tennessee. After having a successful season last year, lots of people came to fall tryouts.
The team looks forward to maintaining last year’s momentum and having a very successful season playing tennis all across the Southeast. In order to do that, they need to maintain a high level of excellence. Club tennis president, Janine Feirer, keeps a goal in sight to keep the team motivated toward excellence.
“Always the goal for us is to get to nationals which we did last year for the first time in five years.” Feirer said, “We won our bracket last year so it was awesome, hopefully we can do it again.”
With nationals on the top of the goal list, tryouts this year were a very competitive event. For team leaders, like sophomore team captain Jin Kyoung Kwon, tryouts can be filled with tough decisions.
“This year we had about fifty five guys and about twenty girls. It’s very competitive though; out of fifty five guys we were able to take five and out of twenty girls we took six after fall tryouts.” Kwon explained.
Tech’s club tennis team is just one level below varsity tennis, but they mean serious business. The team plays World Team tennis, which means they play only one set at tournaments. This is quite different from your average match which consists of three sets in women’s tennis and five sets in men’s.
The opportunity to play more than a single set gives players the chance to get into a rhythm by the end of the first game and improve their scores significantly, but without the safety net of multiple sets, Tech’s club tennis team has to be sure that they are always well prepared going into competition.
Being limited to only one set is a lot of pressure. But senior President Janine Feirer has still enjoyed playing club tennis all through her career at Tech and is ready for another great season.
“Every single game counts,” Feirer said, “You only play one set so it is really high pressure tennis, you do not have time to warm up; you have to come out and play your best right from the beginning.”
In order to keep up with the high demands of World Team Tennis, the team practices three days a week for two hours. Each practice consists of warm-up, drills selected by Coach Kilborn and match play; every second of practice counts just as much as each game.
For lots of people the pressure of a competitive sport on top of school and all that Tech has to offer sounds like too much, but not for sophomore team captain Jin Kyoung Kwon.
Kwon explained that not only has the pressure helped her improve her tennis skills, but it has also helped her become a better student at Tech.
“Club tennis really taught me how to put my best into every single game,” Kwon said, “It has definitely been a stress reliever for me and always helps me focus better throughout the day. Getting a workout in playing tennis with a bunch of people and having fun is definitely a great way to relieve academic stress and make it easier to focus.”
Club tennis is not all about the pressure of playing World Team Tennis like most club sports, Tech’s club tennis team prides itself on providing a happy medium in giving members both a competitive environment for success on the court and an outlet for stress relief.
“Another one of our goals is to make everyone feel like they are part of a family like atmosphere” Kwon said.
Students looking for a place to call home on campus could find their niche in club tennis: an organization where prowess on the court intersects with community on campus.