Akshar Argawal, Staff Reporter

After a year of remote or distanced events without any competition, the Yale Tennis community is preparing for a full return in the fall. 

During the Fall 2020 season, socially distanced practices were held intermittently as Yale’s athletic phases peaked at Phase III practices before returning to Phase 0. Even players who were not on campus were able to be involved in team activities, whether through remote trainings or involvement in campus affairs. As the Ivy League plans to bring back competition in the fall of 2021, the Yale tennis teams have recruited three players for each team. 

Every sport is being held to the same standard, so I think that’s fair,” Theo Dean ’24, men’s player said. “I think it’s better as a whole that every team is at the same phase.”

Dean, a member of the recruits for the class of 2024, practiced in the fall with four other members of the men’s team before Yale reverted back to Phase 0, barring any athletic practices. This fall, the men’s team plans to bring on Luke Neal, Walker Oberg, and Aidan Reilly for a full fall return to competition.

Neal, from Redwood High School in Lakespur, California, was a standout player in Northern California and was nationally ranked within the top 25 of his age group. Oberg, from the Roxbury Latin School in Weston, Massachusetts, won a number of USTA tournaments and was a member of Roxbury Latin’s New England championship team. Reilly, from the Brunswick School in Stamford, Connecticut, was captain of his school’s team and helped lead the team to three FAA championships.

Recruits for the women’s team include Mirabelle Brettkelly of San Francisco, California. Brettkelly was ranked number one in Northern California and is the co-chair of the San Francisco Youth Tennis Coalition’s junior board.

Joining Brettkelly will be two recruits from Ohio, Jamie Kim of William Mason High School in Mason and Nicole Gilinov of Hathaway Brown High School in Moreland Hills. Kim was nationally ranked number 39 for the Class of 2021 and volunteers for the Cincinnati Tennis Foundation. Gilinov was once ranked number 44 for the Class of 2020, was a National High School Tennis All-American, and will be joining her siblings at Yale, Stephen Gillinov MED ’24 and Lauren Gillinov ’21, also a women’s tennis player.

Prior to the beginning of the 2020-2021 season, Samantha Martinelli ’21 and Jessie Gong ’22 were ranked at number 4 in the Oracle ITA Division I Preseason Doubles Rankings after finishing with the 2019-2020 season with a 20-5 record.

In October, members of Yale Tennis including Chelsea Kung ’23 and Vivian Cheng ’23 attended the virtual AACC Student-Athlete Welcome Mixer, the third iteration of an annual event intended to connect student-athletes to the available cultural resources.

“Sometimes people can be honed in on their particular team, and it’s great to have ways for them to meet new people and experience different things,” Kung said in an interview with the News.

Kung was selected as President of the 2021-22 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). During the 2019-2020 term, Kung served as SAAC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair.

Both teams play at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center located at 279 Derby Ave., West Haven.

Hamera Shabbir covers golf and fencing for the Sports desk and the School of the Environment for the Science and Technology desk. Originally from California's Central Valley, she is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Environmental Studies.