WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. – Eph men's tennis coach Dan Greenberg will have all four of his seniors back on campus along with one junior, two sophomores and one first year.
For the fall portion of what is normally a two-part competitive season Greenberg and his Ephs will only be allowed to train as there will be no fall sports competitions being played by any Eph fall team due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this time no decision has been made on whether or not there will be winter and/or spring competitions for Eph teams.
Greenberg outlined his fall plans noting, "We're allowed to practice four times a week at this point, plus lifting, so we'll try to make the most of our time competing against each other (in singles play only), learning about our games and where we can make the most progress in the coming year."
Senior Austin Barr added, "We are approaching our fall practices as if we are going to be competing in the spring. t's going to be a new experience not having any competition against other teams this fall, but our main goals of the fall season are still the same as previous years. We strive to control the things that are within our control. We're all aware that if we spend the fall cultivating a strong team character, then this fall will have been incredibly productive – regardless of whether or not there is a spring season."
Junior Michael Medvedev noted, "it was, of course, upsetting to hear the cancellation announcement of fall NESCAC sports. Even though tennis' main season takes place in the spring, our fall competition still plays an important role in our development both as students and as athletes. I do think, however, that this decision was something all us athletes were prepared for. It doesn't come as a surprise. Honestly, it's the most sensible decision. Cancelling all sports, tournaments, and inter-collegiate travel ultimately protects the safety of others. The uncertainty surrounding the status of COVID-19 on college campuses renders it sensible to cancel sports as early as possible. And so, while I am upset and disappointed by the announcement (a sentiment I'm sure my fellow athletes share), I look forward to still practicing with my team during the fall, and getting prepared for the potential of a spring season. I'm hoping to take this as an opportunity to improve my game, and spend the time I would otherwise be traveling and playing tournaments on other academic and personal interests. Also playing on the new tennis courts in front of a socially distanced crowd in October is something I am really looking forward to!
First year Matt Kandel stated, "This fall is a chance for the entire team to reach a new level. The captains have already been firing me and the team up for an unusual yet opportunistic fall. Having not experienced a collegiate season yet, I am excited to partake in this fall's grind, even if it may not have matches on the schedule. Regardless, the jump from high school to collegiate athletics will be huge, and I hope that hard work can prepare me for the possible spring season. I know that coach Greenberg and the captains are going to push us to our limits this fall and bring out the very best in everyone. I can't wait to get to work. Go Ephs."
Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic deny the Ephs a spring campaign in 2020, but it also had an effect on recruiting for the Class of 2025.
"Recruiting basically went completely virtual: recruits took virtual tours of campus, and instead of tournaments, they sent us videos of them playing matches on their own," Greenberg said. "In some ways, it was harder not seeing them in real tournaments, but on the flipside, we were able to watch their videos multiple times to get a better sense of their games, which was great, as we're often limited in how many tournaments we get to see them compete in anyway."
Looking ahead to the fall and early winter Greenberg offered that, "We're just figuring out ways for recruits to still get a feel for the campus and our team culture, even though they can't visit -- that's the biggest thing right now."
"So far, fall for our team doesn't look all that much different from the previous year," said sophomore Chase Cohen. "That is, last fall we only had one competition which acted more as an individual assessment of progress than the usual team campaign, so the ITA's absence this fall is unfortunate, but does not shift our usual fall focus of training as hard as we can for the spring season. We'll continue to hone our skills through this crazy time while adhering to all the public health guidelines that will keep Berkshire County safe."
One bright spot ahead for Williams tennis is that by the middle of October the project to refurbish the Torrence M. Hunt Tournament Courts with a new post tension concrete surface and the addition of a scoreboard and seating will be completed and thus ready for what is hoped will be a spring season in 2021.