Women’s tennis focuses on growth and betterment for spring season


Photo courtesy of Parker Waters

Senior Sade Atkinson positions herself to make a play against UNO Jan. 21.

With the first few matches under its belt, the Tulane women’s tennis team is looking forward to a season of development and persistence.

The team began its dual match season with a new head coach in Maria “Maru” Brito, who started at Tulane in September 2017. Brito had previously coached at Clemson University, Auburn University at Montgomery and Franco’s Athletic Club in Mandeville, Louisiana.

“We have kind of a young team, we have only two seniors, one junior, three sophomores and two freshmen,” Brito said. “So they are young, but they are very hungry. That’s one thing I’ve seen from the day I got here, they are very hungry, they want to learn, they are eager to learn, they are just a great team, and you know they’re not just great tennis players, but they are just nice people.”

As other Tulane students recovered from the first week of classes, women’s tennis headed to the City Park Pepsi Tennis Center on Jan. 21 for its first doubleheader of the season. The Green Wave faced off against the University of New Orleans and Northwestern State University, both of which they defeated 4-0. 

“They did a great job getting out there and getting the job done,” Brito said. “We talk a lot about the presses and getting out of your comfort zone. They did that, and you know that was just these were all opportunities, playing with the best teams in the country, and it was just a great meet.”

Tulane had the upper hand on Northwestern State before the matches began, as NSU only had five players and therefore had to forfeit certain sets. Tulane triumphed easily and then played similarly well against UNO, pulling off a 4-0 win even without an advantage like it had with NSU.

Tennis continued its spring campaign this past Saturday at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association kickoff tournament against No. 13 Auburn University. To the team’s dismay, it was defeated 4-0. Sunday, Tulane played a consolation match with University of California, Santa Barbara, which had been defeated the previous day by No. 17 University of Miami. Once again, Tulane fell 4-0.

“Overall I just think there were a lot of nerves, and that kind of paralyzed us in the way we prepared,” Brito said. “They responded really well, I mean Auburn you have to play fearless with the score they changed two years ago you can not play in fear of the team, you’ve got to be fearless, you have got to have courage to be aggressive.”

Saturday’s match was played indoors due to the weather, a challenge for Tulane, as the Green Wave typically practice and play outdoors. According to Brito, indoor tennis is more aggressive, and teams like Auburn push the team to focus even more than before.

“They know that they need to be patient and get out of their comfort zone, you know you can always outsmart your people,” Brito said. “But at the end of the day, it’s very mental.”

Upon returning home, Brito hopes that the team will find inspiration from the tournament and focus on daily progress.

“I think they realized we are not that far from the top teams, you know I think they realized that we have to work better, work harder when you have that first opportunity you have to take it,” Brito said.

Women’s tennis will go on the road to play the University of Alabama at Birmingham at noon this Saturday. Its next home game is Feb. 16 against the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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