The Texas women’s tennis team is set to begin its season this weekend at the TCU Invitational after having welcomed one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.
One of six tournaments the team currently has scheduled for the fall, the TCU Invitational is set to begin on Friday and conclude Sunday. Head coach Howard Joffe and seven athletes will be taking the short trip to Fort Worth to compete against athletes from multiple schools including Big 12 opponents TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor.
The team is heavily made up of newcomers who will be on display throughout the tournament, including freshmen Peyton Stearns, Charlotte Chavatipon, Malaika Rapolu and Simran Kortikere, who are all set to make their collegiate debuts this weekend.
Although the team is in large part inexperienced, Joffe said he has no doubt that his veteran players will help guide their new teammates.
“It's just setting an example and just sort of helping when the going does get a little tough with just a little bit of leadership,” Joffe said.
Seniors Fernanda Labraña and Marta Perez Mur, as well as sophomore Gabby Cusano, will also take the court this weekend after their season was cut short in March due to the pandemic.
Joffe recognizes that bringing in some of the nation’s best recruits onto an already talented roster puts the program in a unique situation.
In order for the team to flourish come spring, Joffe said that everyone on the team needs to understand their own skill set.
“The motivation is, ‘Can I sort of chip in my 2 cents’ worth competitively to get myself better?’” Joffe said. “So that in January, this team that looks so elite on paper can actually be elite on the scoreboard.”
Joffe believes that the team is well prepared, and he is eager to finally see them compete in official matches.
“We're (practicing), and then being able to go actually compete — it's a luxury,” Joffe said. “If coronavirus has taught us anything, it's to actually value the stuff we take for granted, which is doing what we do. So very, very excited about it.”