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Double the fun
Mary Burns hits one across the net in an earlier match this season. Tiger coach Janet Reddick called her the top performing female singles player. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
The Bradwell Tigers hosted undefeated Johnson High for tennis last week. Although the Atomsmahers took the match, the Tigers still looked strong at the nets and above all else are having a fun time.
Tennis coach Janet Reddick said her players are all getting better.
"You can see the improvement in the scores and you can see them improve," she said. "We are letting Kendra Williams, who never played a match, play in doubles today and we are starting to add and build our team."
Since their loss to Johnson, the Tigers went to play against Savannah Arts Academy but the rain cancelled the match. The Tigers hosted Windsor Forest on Wednesday and claimed a victory.
With half the team being new players, Reddick said it takes observing each person's form and style to see how they play and how they may develop. When a new player, like Williams, is ready the coach usually starts him or her in a doubles match.
"We always start our new players in doubles," she said. "And gradually work them to singles. The most important thing in doubles is that the players should compliment each other. You always try and keep your doubles team together throughout the whole season and hope you matched them right at the beginning, personality wise and game wise. Then they start to learn each other, how they move and play and after a while it should become instinctive but that takes a while."
Reddick said although the new players start with a doubles match that doesn't mean the game is easier.
"It depends on the level you play at," she said. "At the higher levels or against more experience teams doubles is a faster pace. You do have that help on the court but the pace quickens just a little."
Reddick said she looks for game styles when deciding who she should pair up for a doubles match. She said one player, if not both, should be a bit more aggressive while the other should have a good ground stroke and keep the ball in play until the other can rush the net and make the play.
"I feel nervous but excited," Williams said. "This is my first year playing for Bradwell. I played during the summer but just for fun. I'm ready to go out there and do my best."
"I'm going to make sure she feels confident because that is the biggest thing that can bring you down when you play, your confidence," Sierra Blackshear, Williams' doubles partner said. "I'm not really sure you can call me aggressive but I have a quiet confidence in my skills."
This is Blackshear's third year and she said she has come a long way since day one.
"I started off really bad," she said. "I could not hit the ball, but now three years later I'm doing much better."
In the singles match Reddick said her top players are Mary Burns and Elio Tapper. Both players said they started playing for fun before joining the Tiger squad.
"Then we started playing each other, Burns said.
"She beats me all the time, she's the best," Tapper said.
The Tigers were scheduled to rematch Johnson at Johnson before taking a week off for spring break.
The regional tournament is scheduled for April 15 in Savannah at Bacon Park.

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