Tennis steps back on the court

After almost a year without high school athletics, “fall” sports in Los Angeles County are set to begin this month in an abbreviated season. Among those returning is the Diamond Bar High School tennis team, where boys and girls are currently training under a number of new restrictions and guidelines as they prepare for upcoming tournaments. 

“We started practice back in December as an optional practice, but we’ve made it mandatory since March 9 for players that want to play matches,” boys varsity tennis captain senior Sonny Cao said. “Now, we have practices every Tuesday and Thursday.” 

After alternating between drills on the ball machine and mock scrimmages with each other, the team conditions with socially distanced jump roping after each session. Ranking lists have also been implemented to keep players competitive and motivated. Though the team has not practiced cohesively together for months, Cao said most have been maintaining their skills independently.

“Most varsity players have been practicing on their own time with a private coach or with each other,” Cao said. “Every person has their own schedule and priorities so it’s good that we [now] have set practices to prevent us from getting rusty.” 

On the other hand, the girls tennis team practices on Mondays and Wednesdays and holds workouts consisting primarily of high intensity interval training exercises and cardio to get back in shape. Various precautionary measures have also been taken despite tennis being a low contact sport.  

“We make sure to use hand sanitizer in between practice and we all keep our masks on when we play,”  girls tennis captain junior Ashley Moon said. “I’m really glad the girls on the team and the coaches are taking covid seriously. It makes me feel safe knowing that we don’t take the pandemic lightly.” 

The pandemic has also posed several struggles for tennis players. Rallying with four players is no longer allowed due to regulations; court capacities have reduced the amount of people per court. For the time being, there have also been restrictions on spectators, and most teams have less members than in previous years. 

Despite this, most players are excited to be back on campus and anticipate their approaching seasons. 

“I know the girls and I are really excited to be back out on the courts again,” Moon said. “We’ve all been practicing consistently and working out so we’re sure that coming back to play this season was the right choice.” 

The boys had their first game March 16 against Ayala High School, losing 13-5. 

“We lost but we’re able to learn a lot from our matches and improve the synergy amongst doubles partners and teammates,” Cao said. “I feel like our players are prepared to play, learn, improve and adapt over the course of their games.”

As for the girls, their first game takes place March 30 against Walnut High School, however both teams have yet to release a definitive game schedule for the season.