Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide prepares for fall season

As fall begins on campus, there are other big games going on this weekend besides the football team’s game against Penn State. Alabama’s women’s tennis team opens up the 2010-11 season this weekend at the SEC Fall Coaches Classic in Auburn.

Head coach Jenny Mainz enters her 14th season as the University’s women’s tennis coach. She arrived in Alabama in 1998 and has loved it ever since.

“As soon as I stepped on campus I was sold,” Mainz said. “It was the people. We have outstanding people who help out our programs. They take pride in what we do and have a commitment to excellence.”

Though it may seem that on a team of eight, it’s difficult for leaders to emerge, Mainz said she believes multiple leaders can step up at a time.

“Leadership within a team is the biggest component,” she said. “In a small group of eight it comes from everyone. People can be vocal leaders or just lead by example.”

She previously has coached at University of Iowa, Florida State and University of Houston, collecting a record of 59-74 (.443) before entering the Southeastern Conference coaching Alabama.

Despite coming of a season where the Crimson Tide posted a 10-12 record, Mainz remains optimistic.

“We can be very good this year, but we have a lot of work to do,” she said.

Mainz said there are great things in store for them this year. Players have been training with resolve and are committed to greatness. Not many teams get the chance to face their rival in the first match of the year, but the women’s tennis team has that chance this weekend.

Mainz said the University has a healthy rivalry with Auburn and that playing rivals always seem to bring out the best in players. She said she believes playing in this early tournament with a chance to play against Auburn is a measuring stick to see where the team is.

Mainz isn’t the only one who sees the team’s potential; the players also realize it too.

“We have a lot of potential, and I want to help the team be as good as possible,” freshman Alex Clay said.

Clay said she has gotten better and is more prepared to play at the collegiate level after playing some on the junior level.

“I played tournaments at collegiate level,” she said. “Playing higher competition made me stronger and helped me prepare for tougher matches coming up.”

Clay said as long as the team stays healthy, the Tide should be top a contender in the SEC. Not making the NCAA tournament wouldn’t be considered a failure to Clay but more of a disappointment.

Senior Meritt Emery also said that not making the NCAA tournament is more of a let down to the team.

“We have a great team, and we are all ready to work and put in the time and effort we need to in order to make the NCAA tournament and win more than a couple rounds,” she said.

Emery said she expects her senior year to be the team’s best year.

“I think that we as team have definitely gotten better this year,” she said. “We worked hard over the summer and came in hungry to have a great season.”

Advice she would give to the freshman would be to work hard every day and enjoy the long matches because it goes by very quickly.

She said playing for Alabama has helped her learn a lot over the years with the tennis team, and not all of it has been about tennis.

“Playing at UA has taught me that there is so much more to college tennis than just tennis,” she said. “I have learned more about relationships and the impact we all have on one another more than tennis.”

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