Club Tennis continues to grow as a team
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The lights illuminate the court as the sounds of shoes squeaking and balls hitting court to racket fill the air inside the Leroy Peddy Tennis Center. While most activities around campus are winding down, 8 p.m. is the start of training time for the Mercer club tennis team.
Club tennis has become a regular part of their lives at Mercer, said sophomore members Nick Cordista and Julia Stephen.
“We have about fifteen regular members on our team, including both guys and girls,” Cordista said.
The club tennis team prefers practicing late at night usually two to three times a week. The practices consist of some drills, but mainly fun games led by club president Josh Allison. The team practices both semesters because their season is year round.
“Each semester we will have three to four tournaments,” Stephen.
This averages out to about one tournament a month, which are all within driving distance. The team has travelled across the southeast and prefers to take their own cars instead of buses.
“We have recently been to Kennesaw State, UGA, Auburn, and have hosted one here at Mercer,” Cordista said. “The smaller tournaments typically host about 15-20, and the bigger tournaments like Auburn have about 40 teams.”
With only a few days to complete the tournament, the vast number of teams are ranked in pool play and then can play teams with a similar level the rest of the weekend.
“Depending on how many teams there are, each team is placed in 4-8 pools. You then have a round robin within your pool, and you play all the teams,” Stephen said. “Depending on each team’s game-win percentage, the highest team will get placed in the gold bracket, the second highest team will get placed in the silver bracket, and the lowest team will get placed in the bronze bracket.”
After the teams are placed in their according draws, teams will advance in the traditional bracket format. Like the tournament draws, the actual scoring format is unusual as well.
“We play a total of five matches — one guy singles, one girl singles, one guy doubles, one girl doubles, and one mixed doubles,” Cordista said. “Each match plays one no-ad set to six with a five-point tiebreak at 5-5 and sudden death at 4-4 in the tiebreaker.”
Both Cordista and Stephen say they are extremely dissatisfied with the way the scoring is formatted to apply more pressure, as it is not how traditional tennis is played.
“There are so many situations where one point decides the entire match over and over.” Stephen said.
The club team claimed their biggest win at the Auburn tournament this semester with a 28-17 win over UGA. With a few more years on the team, both Cordista and Stephen believe that their team can achieve their goal of getting a bid to the national club tennis tournament held in Arkansas.
“We are improving, we are getting more members, and we are going to win tournaments,” Stephen said.
Although there are no more tournaments this semester, the team is always open to new members and anyone can join by coming to practice Mondays or Thursdays at 8 p.m.