Tennis Team Starts Strong During COVID-19


Kendall Hermanson

Of all Westminster’s spring sports teams, the tennis team seems to be the most unaffected by the COVID protocols here at Westminster. The team is coached by Middle School math teacher Shazeen Porbandarwala. Porbandarwala has been coaching tennis at Westminster for four years, and she’s always coached at the Middle School level. Tryouts for this season began in January 2021, with the first match in mid-February. The team will be playing five schools this year, versus the normal year, in which they’d play ten to eleven.  

The tennis team has been seemingly unaffected by COVID, as the players are always far apart enough to play unmasked. 8th grade student Kate Barnette says that she didn’t know if they would have tennis this year. “At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure whether or not we would have tennis,” Barnette says, “because fall sports didn’t really have a normal season.” Another 8th grader, Katie Koenning, says that she knew they would play tennis, but wasn’t sure how strict the protocols would be. “I knew that we were going to play because you are socially distanced while playing, even enough to play without your mask,” Koenning says. “On the other hand, I was not sure how strict the protocols would be and how the matches would be played.”

Coach Porbandarwala stresses that COVID hasn’t had a large impact on the tennis team. “I don’t think [COVID] has really affected the team. I think we still get out there and we play . . . we wear a mask when we’re off the court, but when we’re on the court, we don’t need to wear a mask,” Porbandarwala says, “and I think they’re really enjoying themselves.”

So far in their season, the tennis team has only had one player pulled out for COVID, but the team adapted and covered the open spots in the match. “[Having a player pulled out] did affect our lineup for one of our matches,” Porbandarwala says. “So some of our students had to play up a little bit, but they were able to play against somebody that was maybe better than them. That’s just how they improve their game.”

Porbandarwala says her favorite part about being a tennis coach is watching the players play. “There’s a lot of fun just seeing them hit and helping them improve their game.” It’s clear the tennis team is off to a strong start and will have a great season!