Crenshaw High School alum MarQuis Davis is in his fourth year as head coach of the school’s tennis teams. Davis learned how to play and teach tennis in a program that Crenshaw hosted on Saturdays during his teenage years. Davis has since paid it forward by coaching; tennis had always been a passion of his.
“Tennis is the sport I love,” Davis said. “I’ve been teaching kids and grandparents how to play for multiple years.”
The Crenshaw boys and girls tennis teams are at two different levels of development. After achieving a 5-1 record in the Coliseum league, the girls tennis team went to the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The playoffs presented a new level of challenges for the girls although they were successful during the season.
“In our district, there’s not many people who are super into tennis,” said senior Christina Orozco. “When we go up to playoffs, it’s a way harder team to play verses in the district because they’re more experienced, they have way more people.”
Members of the boy’s tennis team were new to the sport, learning the basics of tennis was frustrating to them.
“Overall, I’m still very satisfied with both seasons. Everybody did get something out of it,” Davis said. “Some minds were opened up, some of them realized that this was something that they could do.”
Many members of the boy’s tennis team come from the school’s basketball team. Sophomore Westin Carlyle joined the tennis team to enhance his footwork for basketball.
“With Westin, he’s very, very fast, so that means he’s able to cover the court a lot more,” Davis said. “If his opponent isn’t very, very skilled in placing the ball where it needs to be, then Westin can chase the ball down.”
At first, Carlyle thought playing tennis would not be fun. As he began playing, Carlyle quickly began to enjoy the sport.
“For tennis, it helps me with basketball because he gives us a latter drill, we have to move our feet really quickly on the latter and it helps us for moving around on the court playing defense,” Carlyle said.
Orozco played tennis for Crenshaw since her sophomore year. Serving has become her strong suit, according to Davis.
“She was able to stand there on the court and serve the ball and either her opponent was missing it, could not hit it back or placed it where her opponent couldn’t touch it,” Davis said.
The boy’s team had to adjust to the rules in tennis that contrasted from basketball. Trash talking, an accepted practice in basketball, would get them in trouble.
“On the tennis court, there’s really no talking smack to your opponent,” Davis said. “It really does come from your play. If you can’t get your serve, then your opponent has nothing to worry about.”
The girls had to become more self-reliant in their abilities and communication during this season.
“As they began to develop and play, I moved some of the players from a doubles atmosphere, when they were still relying on a teammate to actually win the match, to a singles environment,” Davis said.
The boy’s team did not make the playoffs, but several members came to enjoy a new sport.