ENC tennis captain, Maria Busila, shares some insight on what it takes to be captain and the reason behind continuing to play in the season despite injuries. Before her injuries, Maria Busila had a winning streak of three games in doubles with her team player Eilym Gomez.
Q: How did you get so good at doubles?
“When I first came to the United States and joined the team, I wasn’t good at doubles; I wasn’t ready, prepared, or trained to play doubles. In four years while I was, you know, practicing playing for all these years, except the COVID year (we didn’t have a season for that year), all the other three years I improved.
It proves the hard work that I have been doing, especially improving the serve and volley techniques, and finding the right balance with my partner because doubles is not like playing alone, it’s also having a connection with my double partner, so it’s also important to find that equilibrium.”
Q: What is it like being the tennis captain?
“As a tennis captain, I carry the pressure for my matches and my games, but I also carry the responsibility of the whole team, that responsibility. So, it’s not only playing on the court and then going home, and I don’t need to worry about tennis anymore. I’m the point of reference and contact for all my teammates. If they have any complaints or concerns, even if they are going through a hard moment in any other aspect of their life, I am there to support them and listen to them.”
Q: As you said, you must be a captain inside and outside of tennis. Is there anything that is especially challenging about being on the tennis team?
“Not really. I really like that there isn’t. There is nothing I can’t handle; my teammates are great and have no drama between them. So that makes the team a strong team. Maybe I would say one not-so-positive thing from before being a captain is the fact that sometimes everybody forgets I’m a human too. Then they have that perspective of me that I’m good at everything, and especially that I’m already great at tennis, but there are even better players than me out there. And sometimes, like, I guess that’s the thing that they forget, you know? I also can lose, and I don’t know everything perfectly.”
Q: How does your injury affect the team?
“When I got injured and I couldn’t play my last game, I could really see that they needed me in the sense of having me on the court and looking at me and feeling like: “Maria. She’s there, she’s supporting us and we can do it”, you know? So me not being able to play [due to injuries] made them not feel confident enough that they could win. So it’s not only my personal pressure, but also the team pressure because [my teammates] see me like a model, so I have to represent what they’re expecting from me. Sometimes it’s hard because I can’t win all the time, and now that I got injured, it was even harder. So what I tried to do is go to each match and while they were taking breaks, try to support them by telling them to keep going. That was actually very important; two of my teammates, because they saw me on the other side, supporting them [it helped them]. And that’s why even if I am injured, I decided to play for the rest of the season because I feel that the team needs me and also, it’s my last season, I’m dedicated to the team and I want to keep doing it, especially for my senior year I don’t want to end up with just a bad injury.”
Q: Do you have any worries as you continue to play with injuries?
“For the doubles, I have my partner’s help. So I think we can work together and you know, maybe one thing that we will try before [the match], is for my partner to get the ball when I’m not able to get it because of my injury and try to practice different like tactics. [For example,] finish the point earlier at the net or serve really good so we don’t get a return back, you know try to improve those things so then we don’t get long points where the others can think “oh, she can’t run. So now we are going to make them run”.
I hope I don’t break the muscle in my bone. [nervous laughter]
But other than that, I’m not worried. If we win, we win. If we lose, it’s not the end of the world, we have more matches to worry about rather than being like “oh, we lost. Oh no,” We would rather just focus on improving for the next couple of matches that we still have and go from there. I always say it’s not terrible when we lose.”
Maria Busila expressed her undefeated dedication to the tennis team as captain this season. One of her fellow teammates, Gisselle Caro adds context to her reputation as captain:
Q: What kind of captain is Maria known as in the tennis team?
“Maria is known as an incredible captain! She is talented on the court and outside the court. Her skills surpass any other girl on the team. She is heavily respected and admired.
What I appreciate about Maria as captain is how kind and loving she is off the court. Maria is my roommate so I may be a little biased, but she is everything the team needs. She is everybody’s friend and whenever you have something troubling you, you can always count on her. She is the ideal captain and held the tennis team together. Without Maria, there would be no team. She has been so strong because she had every chance to give up. When COVID hit all the team members left and even the coach left, she was left alone. Imagine getting recruited for a sport having an incredible first season and everything disappears. Back home she left her family to practice tennis in another city. After finally getting recruited, everything died with COVID. However, she was strong and persistent. She is a respectable tennis player, captain, and friend.”
Images from Maria Busila