The Virginia women's tennis team will welcome some of the best teams in the nation this week to Charlottesville as the Boar's Head Sports Club hosts the 2011 ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The 16-team event runs Friday-Monday and admission is free. The Cavaliers open play on Friday at 12:30 p.m. when they meet No. 3 Baylor. Virginiasports.com talked with sophomore Maria Fuccillo to discuss to start of the season and to preview the tournament.
Question: At 6-0, the team is off to the best start in school history. What has been the key to the early success?
Fuccillo: A lot of it has to do with belief and confidence on the court. We have worked hard to get to this point and we feel like every time we go out there we have a chance to win. When you play with that mindset, it helps you be successful.
Question: This week you have National Team Indoors. What will it be like to play against some of the top teams in the nation day after day?
Fuccillo: It is definitely exciting. These are the opportunities that you work hard for. It will be a challenge, but we are excited for it. It will be a great chance to see how good our team is and where we can still improve. It is the first time we will be playing at National Indoors and we need to enjoy this experience.
Question: Not only is this your first chance to play at National Team Indoors, but does it make it more exciting to be able to host the event?
Fuccillo: That really makes it exciting. We hope to have a lot of fans out here this weekend cheering us on. It's a big advantage for us to be home, playing on courts we practice on every day and just being in familiar surroundings. It is a great chance to get home matches against some top teams we don't normally have a chance to play.
Question: You are one of six ACC teams in this week's tournament. Is this also a chance to see where you stand against the top teams in the conference?
Fuccillo: It will definitely give us a chance to see some of the top teams in the conference. Some of those teams have some new players in their lineup, so it will give us a chance to see them and maybe help us later in the season. The ACC is such a good conference and this week will show just how we stack up against some of the other conferences.
Question: This is the first of two straight tournaments for you, as next week you go to Alabama for the Blue/Gray Tournament. Do tournaments like these help you develop and get ready for postseason play later in the year?
Fuccillo: These tournaments help a lot. You are playing a high level of competition and you are playing consecutive days. That is what the ACC and NCAA Tournaments are like. We had a good individual tournament when we got back from winter break and those matches really helped us improve. I think these tournaments will help even more.