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Maci Ferguson hits a forehand

Not Quite The Offseason

Submitted on July 25, 2019

For a tennis player, the work happens in the summer. The summer means building for next season. Often, the season is so busy, so jammed with matches against a wide range of opponents, that there’s little time for true improvements.

It’s easy to feel inspired to play over the summer. All the major professional tournaments, bar the Australian Open, are played in the summer. And for American audiences, the Australian Open takes effort to watch live, with the insane time difference.

For two Georgetown College tennis players, one whose college career has just ended and one whose is just getting started, their relationship to the sport and this time is shifting.

Ryo Takeda just graduated from Georgetown College this past May. A 1st-Team All-Conference honoree his first three years on campus and a 2nd Team All-Conference honoree his Senior Year, Takeda is one of the most decorated Men’s Tennis players to ever play for Georgetown College.

Then, there’s Maci Ferguson. Named Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year in Women’s Tennis, she played a crucial role in a hugely successful season for GC Women’s Tennis. Her career at Georgetown is just getting started.

A college tennis player rarely knows when it’s his or her last match. You may realize it midway through a match, losing to an opponent clearly better than you. It’s a lonely feeling. A sense of dread and melancholy takes over your body, and you have to push your body to slog through a defeat you know could be coming. You have to keep going, keep fighting, the exact opposite of what your brain wants you to do.

Takeda has played his last match for Georgetown College, but he’s still hitting this summer. “I’m still hitting 2 or 3 times a week as a hobby. Just not competing like the last ten years…”  Takeda has moved back home to Japan, where he’s starting his first job after college. Although his career at Georgetown College is over, the memories still persist.

“Everything was unforgettable. The Spring Break trip, especially. Just spending time with teammates all week was amazing.”

Maci Ferguson, meanwhile, is right in the heart of a pivotal summer. “This summer I am taking private lessons and playing in clinics multiple days a week to work on specific parts of my game that I found lacking in the previous season. I’m also doing a running program and trying to get in the gym often to work on my physical strength.”

She heads into her sophomore year with increased expectations, hoping to help the Women’s Tennis Team’s continued improvement.

They say tennis is one of the only true lifelong sports. After all, it’s much harder to gather enough people for a basketball or football game. But drive around and look out at the public tennis courts this summer. Inevitably, you’ll see people of all ages playing tennis. All you need is a racquet, balls, and one other person.

For these two players, one whose career has just ended and one just beginning, the summer still means playing tennis, just with different goals and with different futures.

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