The Fairfield girls? tennis program is in good hands with Head Coach Heidi Grunwald who is looking to lead the Trojans to their third consecutive Southeast Conference title in 2018.
Coach Grunwald spoke with The Ledger at practice last week about her team, their goals and her confidence level early in the season.
How are your numbers this year versus other years and other programs?
Heidi Grunwald: I would say our numbers are about what they have been in the past, they?re probably up from some of the other teams but not others. Fort Madison has 20-some and Keokuk only has seven, but mine is probably comparable to the past.
How many do you have this year?
Is there a number that you prefer, so that you?re not too big or too small?
Grunwald: 16 to 18 is ideal. 16 is best so we can have four to a court, but... I?ll take what I get.
Do you have a good mix of talent and experience? Is this a rebuilding year? What?s the general outlook?
Grunwald: It?s not a rebuilding year by any means. I have some seniors that have been with me since they were freshman and some that joined when they were sophomores, so definitely not a rebuilding year. Hopefully, we?ll win conference for the third year in a row.
What do you need to do between now and the postseason to get where you need to be?
Grunwald: We need to work on some double stuff with all three of our doubles teams. Working on some singles, getting some first serves in and not taking that second serve. Just playing the first serve well and going from there.
What do you think that the teams? strengths are that have led to this success?
Grunwald: I think they?ve been together long enough that they just work well together and they just are very accepting of other people when we have new people come in. We have some new people this year and they?ve been very accepting with all of those people and help them out.
Do you find that you get a lot of kids with no previous experience?
Grunwald: We do get a lot of girls with no experience, but with all of the tennis players in the community, we do get some kids with some experience and have there own coaches, so that?s a good thing.
Where is your confidence level on the season?
Grunwald: I would say it?s pretty high, but I don?t want to say that too loud.
What gives you that confidence, is it that you?ve got a well-tuned machine?
Grunwald: Oh, yeah. It?s the experience here and I know how they play and how they work together and then when you add the new players and their experience. I have a freshman who is No. 2 and she jumped right into that No. 2 spot, that?s pretty good.
Do you find that some of the athletes don?t consider tennis?
Grunwald: They probably don?t but I?ll take what I get and the ones that are here work hard and enjoy the sport. That?s all I ask of them.
What does tennis offer that differs from other sports?
Grunwald: It?s an individual sport and it?s also something that they can play for the rest of their life. That?s a benefit of tennis and you can always play with one person or three other people and still have that fun time.