This week the Virginia women’s tennis team returns home for the first time in a month for a pair of matches at the Snyder Tennis Center. The No. 34 Cavaliers host top-ranked North Carolina on Friday and fifth-ranked and reigning NCAA champion Duke on Saturday. Virginiasports.com caught up with sophomore Lindsey Hardenbergh to discuss the season thus far and preview this week’s matches.Question: This week marks this first time since Feb. 28 that you have played at home. How does is feel to have this long road trip come to an end?
Hardenbergh: There is no better place to play than at Snyder, especially when the weather is as good as it is supposed to be this weekend. We are looking forward to being able to play at home, in front of our fans for the first time in a while. Hopefully we will be able to have some good crowds out to see us this weekend.
Question: How hard is it to go a month without playing a home match?
Hardenbergh: You just have to take it in perspective. It wasn’t like it was one long road trip, it was several one or two match trips. Now that I am a second-year, I feel like I can handle the road trips better. Last season, it took a while to get used to the traveling. I actually kind of like it. You get to rest up in a nice hotel bed and you get plenty of time to just focus on tennis and studying.
Question: After a tough trip to Florida last week when you played two top-20 opponents in Florida State and Miami, it doesn’t get any easier this weekend with top-ranked North Carolina and reigning NCAA Champion Duke coming to town. What are you expecting from these matches?
Hardenbergh: You have to look at it as an amazing opportunity for our team. Last week, although the scores may not have shown it, I thought was a good stepping stone for us and we are playing better with each match. I am excited for this week. You don’t get many chances to play two top-five teams at home in consecutive days. Question: This season you have been playing at No. 1 singles after playing in the middle of the lineup last year during your freshman season. How have you adjusted to that change?
Hardenbergh: It is a great opportunity and I love the challenge. I think when you are playing No. 1, the strategy is a little more important because every one of your opponents is going to be really good. The coaches have done a great job helping me in that area. You just need to go into every match expecting a challenge and you need to believe in yourself and that you are in that position for a reason. Question: Now that you are midway through your second ACC season, have you noticed anything different from your first time through the conference last year?
Hardenbergh: You just get used to the schedule. You know what to expect from every match and know just how good each of these teams are. One thing I noticed last year was just how quick the season went, so I have tried to be ready for every match, trying to make every one count.