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Monday, Oct 25, 2021

Mercer tennis preps for new season

Ruben Vanoppen serves the ball at tennis practice.
Ruben Vanoppen serves the ball at tennis practice.

With the tennis preseason competition beginning in less than two weeks, the men and women’s Mercer tennis teams are anticipating a strong season.

Already hard at work both on the court and in the weight room, Mercer tennis team members are excited for the upcoming year.

Rebounding from a challenging season in 2014, sophomore Ruben Vanoppen said there has been a shift in the program’s mindset, accompanied by a newfound sense of urgency.

“We need to win. This year, we are going to win. We have the players to do it,” Vanoppen said.

With a fairly small group of dedicated athletes — 8 girls and 8 boys belonging to each team — the Mercer tennis team is “hungry to get ranked,” said to Vanoppen. With a strong freshmen recruiting class and the hallmark international flare characteristic of the tennis program, both teams are poised to capture the conference title.

Freshman Katie Sidor commends the team’s motivation and spunk, saying that during their sprint workouts early in the morning when motivation can be difficult to muster, the players all push one another to work hard and work for something collectively.

As for Coach Hayes, Sidor said, “he’s gonna push you. He’s tough but a great supporter off the court as well.”

Three freshmen boys and three freshmen girls join the clan this year, adding to the versatility and skill of the tennis program.

“The freshmen are ready to put in work,” Sidor said. “We’re a determined group.”

With the amount of training and persistence that has defined their preseason, the Mercer tennis team is ready to challenge some solid teams during preseason and into spring when official matches begin.

Preseason for the men’s team begins in Athens, Georgia at the Southern Intercollegiates from Sept. 11-14. The women’s team will begin competition in the UCF Quad on Sept. 18-20.     

Vanoppen is confident. “We’re more ready than we’ve ever been to dominate.”



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