What’s a tenn is team?

By Gareth Williams

Anyone with experience will tell you not to date a tennis player, despite how they appear on TV. Love means nothing to tennis players. But until you’ve dated someone with fuzzy green balls in their shorts, you might not hear about the Dinos tennis team.

Kelly Gordon hopes our mixed tennis squad will change all that by winning the Western Canadian Tennis Championships Nov. 11-12 at Calgary’s Rico Tennis Academy.

“We’re sick of people joking about not knowing that there is a tennis team,” commented Gordon. “If we can win this year it’ll raise our profile.”

The Westerns consist of men’s and women’s singles matches as well as mixed doubles against the University of Alberta. Players are ranked on their skill level and compete with the corresponding player from the U of A. The team with the most victories is crowned the champ.

Although tennis might not be everyone’s idea of an action-packed sport, rookie Kasia Kwiatkowska, who picked up her first racket at age four, can’t get enough of the game.

“[I like] the adrenaline rush of the competition,” she said. “It’s a real rush playing.”

Despite tennis being an individual sport for the most part, the Dinos are a closely-knit bunch who practice, compete, party and travel together.

One of the Dinos coaches, Alex Policarpo believes that being part of a team helps his players sharpen their skills more than if they couldn’t get extra advice from teammates. For Policarpo, refining the Dinos’ abilities is a primary goal for this season.

“We want to improve their games, their knowledge, just make them better players overall,” he explained.

Although tennis has historically been seen as an elitist sport–with private clubs, all-white clothing and expensive lessons–you’d be wrong to suggest that the Dinos are all beaux mondes.

“There are players from different backgrounds,” noted Amanda Szpecht, one of the team’s co-captains. “A lot of the players don’t belong to [private] clubs in the city. For many, this is their only opportunity to play for a club.”

If you want a chance to see some top-level tennis and clap politely, the Dinos men play at 10 a.m., women at 2 p.m. and mixed teams at 6 p.m. Sat., Nov. 12 at the Rico Tennis Academy, 5600 19 Street SW. Come see the Dinos win a crown.

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