SARATOGA SPRINGS — Since their first and final week of practice this past spring, high school varsity tennis players stepped back onto the court after waiting six long months since the Tennis Program at Saratoga Springs was forced to close down.
Tim O’Brien, coach of the program, said their first practice this past Monday went well and players were eager to abide by safety precautions put in place in order for them to play.
“[The practice] went well. It was nice to see the kids on the court,” O’Brien said. “It’s obviously a little different than what we are used to with the face coverings and [safety precautions], but we know that this is a great opportunity and the kids know that it's something that we have to do and something that will allow us to get on the court and get a season in.”
He added: “We have a lot of safety measures put in place to make sure that distancing is maintained and that practices are successful. We had separated practice [Monday] and we are going to continue to do that.”
The 2020 team consists of both junior varsity, ranging students in eighth grade up through tenth grade and the varsity program, which carries tenth to twelfth.
“Some schools have only been approved for varsity tennis so we were fortunate to maintain our JV program through all this,” O’Brien said.
The program is no cut, meaning any student who wishes to play in the program, can. O’Brien said about fifty kids signed up, and separating the practices allows the players to remain socially distanced.
The team will play their first match is Saturday, Oct. 3 and will play Monday, Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. The varsity will play a 13-match season while the junior varsity will play seven. O’Brien expressed gratitude that not only could students play tennis, but the seniors would get this last chance to play a sport they enjoy at a high school level.
“The seniors are excited,” O’Brien said. “[At practice] we talked about the fact that the kids in the spring had one week of play before everything got shut down. They really can’t take one practice for granted…just take everything as it goes and be appreciative that we have a chance to do this.”
As the season progresses, O’Brien is positive the precautions put in place will keep the team safe, and he looks forward to the Oct. matches.
He added: “Both my other coaches are real excited to be out as well. It’s really a great part of our day to be able to work with the kids and we are looking forward to a nice season ahead.”