Photo courtesy of Blue Raider Men’s Tennis Facebook
The week of Spring Break was supposed to be a time for the MTSU men’s tennis team to get in crucial outdoor tennis practice and matches in Houston. But in a whirlwind of 48 hours, the Blue Raiders’ hopes to finish the 2020 spring season with a bang were dashed by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent cancellation of all NCAA sports for the semester.
“I happened to be exercising and just kinda reacted a bit (on Twitter to the news) because my team found out at the same time I found out, and I really wanted the chance to talk to the guys,” said MTSU Head Coach Jimmy Borendame.
By the next week, plans were in motion to figure out where each member of the diverse and international roster of the Blue Raiders was headed.
“We have three guys still in Murfreesboro. For some of the guys from Europe, it was safer for them to stay here. So we have a couple on and off-campus and a few other guys have made it home,” Borendame said.
Borendame went on to say he was scheduling Zoom meetings to help stay in touch with his team and keep an eye on their progress as they try to stay fit for a possible fall season.
Quarantined, but all ?’s catching up with these guys, miss them ? pic.twitter.com/EG6nMAprXU
— Jimmy Borendame (@CoachJimmyB) April 2, 2020
But for the senior class that had their season cut short, it seems the recent NCAA decision to allow waivers for spring sports senior athletes to receive an extra year of eligibility will be a major boon to next year’s Blue Raider roster.
“Everybody has been very excited to stay at Middle Tennessee. Right now I have the commitment from Tom (Moonen) and Max (Rauch) to return. It makes me feel good that these guys want to continue with our program,” Borendame said.
With the retention of some of the Blue Raiders top players, it seems that next season will feature one of the strongest MTSU men’s tennis teams ever as Coach Borendame builds the program for even higher standards in the future.
“Right now I feel the team is loaded. I think there are a few teams that had seniors and they could almost be superteams. But spring sports across the board should be super strong next year,” Borendame said.
For this quarantine period, Borendame said he will work with his training staff at MTSU to help coordinate and make sure every player has a set training regimen fit for what equipment and setup they have to make sure the team stays in peak form. And hopefully, for Blue Raider fans, next spring will bring a great product on the hard courts for MT. But as a silver lining, at least MTSU will remain the defending Conference USA champions for another year.