Monday Press Conference: Patti Henderson

Women's tennis coach addressed her team's performance this season and the upcoming USTA/ITA Indoor Nationals, which take place at Wisconsin's Nielsen Tennis Stadium this weekend

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Opening statement

"Leading into this weekend we are currently 3-1. We were 3-0 before playing Notre Dame yesterday at Notre Dame. We lost somewhat decisively to them. However, I think one of the things Bo (Ryan) had touched on in one of his answers, we are playing with some people who we didn't anticipate playing with that are a little bit less experienced and in some cases very much less experienced than they people they are competing against. Yesterday against Notre Dame was the first time we played against a team with that depth this season. Actually the people who have had the opportunities to be in our lineup right now proved that they are competitive and they are going to find a way to compete. The question mark is if they are going to be capable to learn at a steep learning curve. That is the position we are in with some members of our team. So far they have proven that they will be able to do that. Katie McGaffigan for us, this is the first time she is playing as a one, she played four her freshman year, three last year and one this year. It doesn't matter who you play she is playing a tough opponent. She is 3-1 going into this weekend. Yesterday she lost a tough match to one of the top 10 players in the country. She has proven that she is right there and she is learning every match she plays. She is learning from that experience. Likewise that is happening down at five and six and Lindsay Martin at three. We are continuing to hope for that learning.

As for the tournament this year, it is quite possibly going to be the strongest field we have had. We have nine out of the top 10 teams coming in. It is going to be phenomenal competition. You don't get anything like this, not even at the NCAA's in terms of one facility, enclosed, on three courts. So every time you walk into Nielsen there are four duals going on at once. It is an exciting atmosphere even if you are not a tennis fan, if you are just a fan of competition and athletics. It is great opportunity to see that at its best."

It's early in the season, but can you still learn a lot from this tournament, win or lose?

"Absolutely. We are always striving to be Big Ten champs and contend for the Big Ten title and be a team that is going to be in the top 16 teams in the country. This gives us that opportunity to find out what we need to do to be there. There have been years where we belong right in there and there have been years we have needed to improve in some areas more so than others. It is a great learning opportunity for everybody."

There have been some big name players in the past, are there some big name college players who may be (at the tournament) this year?

"Not only did Lisa Raymond just beat Venus Williams, but you have Laura Granville, who played for Stanford. She was here two years ago, both her freshman and sophomore year, and she is in the top 30 in the world. She is becoming somewhat of a household name. Currently we have three of the top four players who will be here this week. The No. 1 player in the country is a women by the name of Agata Ciorich of Georgia, she is of Polish background. She is a very, very good player. Northwestern's No. 1 player, Cristelle Grier, is from England. She is also a very, very good player. The top American of that group is from Cal-Berkeley, Raquel Kops-Jones. Those are names you could very well hear about in the next five or six years."
 


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