The Virginia women's tennis team returns home this weekend to host a Saturday doubleheader at Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar's Head Sports Club. The Cavaliers play Marshall at 11 a.m., followed by Winthrop at 4 p.m. Virginiasports.com talked with junior Lindsey Hardenbergh to discuss to start of the season and to preview the upcoming matches.
Question: At 4-0, the team is off to one of the best starts in school history. What has been the key to the early success?
Hardenbergh: We have a great team dynamic and are pushing each other to get better. This is a talented group and our practices each day are improving all of us individually and as a team. That high level of practice has carried over into our matches.
Question: The team has five ranked singles players for the first time in history. Do you feel like this team is deeper than the ones you played on the past two seasons?
Hardenbergh: Definitely. This is a more talented team and we are more competitive at every position in the lineup than we have been before. It gives everyone confidence going into each match that we know we have a chance to win at every position. It also helps us in practice because the level is that much higher and it makes all of us better.
Question: You have played on the road the last two weeks. How excited are you to return home and play at Boar's Head the next two weeks?
Hardenbergh: We are really looking forward to it. Saturday's doubleheader will be a couple of good matches and then we have National Team Indoors the following week. National Team Indoors will be one of the most amazing experiences of my career thus far and to play it here will be a great opportunity. The last couple weeks we have had some good challenges on the road, so it will be nice to be able to play in front of our fans for a few matches.
Question: You mentioned National Team Indoors coming up next week. This is the first time Virginia has hosted the event. What are you looking forward to most about that tournament?
Hardenbergh: It will be the highest level of tennis our team has ever played against. We have the best teams in the country coming here to our courts. We are working to build this program to where we are one of those top teams, so this is an opportunity to see what it takes to play at that level. I also think it will serve as some extra motivation to keep working hard to take that next step for our team.
Question: The week after National Team Indoors you go to the Blue/Gray Tournament in Alabama. How does playing these tournaments in the middle of the season prepare you for postseason play in April and May?
Hardenbergh: It is good because you get used to tournament play and the level you need to play at it in order to win that type of match. It also helps in terms of our strength of schedule. This is certainly the most challenging non-conference schedule we have had since I have been here and I think that will only help us when we get to ACC matches and the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.