Dunbar girls tennis building on the basics ahead of tournament

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

With every serve and return, Dunbar girls tennis players, such as Re’nyah Tape, see their skills improve on the court.

“Before this, I never really had an interest in tennis,” Tape explained. “I didn’t know a thing about it. All I knew is that you had a racquet and a ball. So scoring everything is new and I actually really like the sport.”

Tape is one of six other girls on the team who are brand new to the sport.

“I’ve always liked to push myself,” Tape said. “I’m a very adventurous person. I love to try new things. And tennis was just a great opportunity to do that.”

Coaching them up on the basics is Dunbar boys and girls tennis coach Barbara Parker.

“When I started out, I didn’t have any experience and someone taught me,” Parker said. “And once you acquire something, you want to give back. So teaching them is just letting them learn the way I learned. Someone is out there trying to help me learn the game better.”

Those lessons go beyond the court.

“Playing this sport has really helped me learn what my body can do,” Aalayah Meran, who is a junior and in her first year playing tennis, said. “I’m working out more now than I have at all in my entire life. And it’s been beneficial for my psyche. I’m seeing I’m getting better sleep eating healthier.”

The Tigers are getting ready to compete in the Lee County Girls High School Invitational at The Landings Tennis Club. This gives them an opportunity to compete against experienced players and see what they can strive towards.

“The love of tennis is on their face,” Parker said. “They love it. They show it.”

“No matter what level you start, everyone’s going to be a beginner,” Tape said. “Do not compare yourself to others who have been playing for 5-10 years because as long as you’re consistent and you keep on practicing, you’ll end up just like them one day.”

The invitataional gives each team a grant of $500 to help them with equipment. Last year, the Dunbar team used the money to buy supplies such as racquets and grips. They also bought a bench to be installed at their court. They dedicated it to Frederick Morgan, who is one of their coaches who passed away last year.

The tournament begins on Thursday and features four days of consecutive play with singles and doubles draws.

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