April 16, 2013
• Watch Fleishman News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's tennis head coach Brian Fleishman met with the media Monday to talk about the Badgers' season, young squad and Senior Day.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Fleishman's remarks can be found below.
Fleishman: The women's tennis program this year, it's a young team, probably the youngest in the country. Six freshmen on the roster, and five are actually playing.
One senior leading the group at the number one position, Hannah Berner from Brooklyn, N.Y., who's done an outstanding job this year. She's got a lot on her shoulders, that's for sure, trying to lead this young group. She's our captain, and she's done a great job trying to lead the team.
With a young team. You never know what to expect. It's sort of like a roller coaster ride at the amusement park. Sometimes they make you excited, and sometimes they can really try your patience. I think that's one of the big things this year, as a coach, I've learned a lot of patience with such a young team.
Again, you never know what to expect. We lost a lot of matches this year, and then we turn around and beat Ohio State, which we haven't done since I've been here. They were 52 in the country. So at any given time, they can play well all in the same day. We haven't done that too often, though.
We're hoping to play a good match against Iowa this coming Friday on Senior Day. Iowa's got a former Badger leading that team, Katie Dougherty, who played here at Wisconsin, and she's going to come in here and try to take it to us. But we've done pretty well against Iowa over the years, and it's going to be a good battle for sure.
Hopefully, all the freshmen, the young kids, will play well on Senior Day for our senior.
Question: Brian, this is a young group that probably can only get better from what they're experiencing right now, right?
Fleishman: You know, hopefully, you learn from your losses. You celebrate your victories. They're a good group of kids. They're working hard. They're doing exactly what I asked them to do. Again, they're trying to make that transition from senior tennis to college tennis. Sometimes it can be a big learning curve.
They understand now, being a college player is a little bit harder than a junior player. They all had good success as juniors. Coming into college and playing for a team, coming from an individual sport, the transition is sometimes difficult. Sometimes these kids, since they are coming from an individual sport, have never been told no. I've had to tell them no several times this year. It's a learning process for sure for these young players.
Again, these six players will go for the next three more years and only get better for sure. They continue to work hard and learn from the losses and, again, only can get better.
Question: Your roster, a lot of these young players are also from all corners of the world.
Fleishman: All over.
Question: How have they gelled with all of those different cultures coming together?
Fleishman: They have some issues with the food here in Madison, but they're learning to eat cheese curds and some of the Madison food. It's been great for me. It's been great for them, all of them learning different cultures. I think that's the good thing about Madison itself. It's such a melting pot, and there are so many people from all over the world. I think that's just indicative of this lineup. It's similar to what the University of Madison was, diversity here, and this is a diverse group.
Coming from a different culture from so far away, there's a transition period for that too. There's transition periods for this freshman coming from Illinois to make that transition as a freshman, and then let alone being an athlete, it's been a big learning experience for these girls. Again, they're working hard. They're trying to do all the right things.
Now they know what it's like to be a Badger, and they're learning how to fight. So it's getting exciting for sure.
Question: You're saying that there's a lot on Hannah's shoulders. She's handled that pretty well? I mean, she's the elder statesman of the club.
Fleishman: It's been quite a year for Hannah. Hannah got hit by a car early January, was out for a couple of matches. She had to lead six freshmen and tried to make sure they were prepared for every match. She tries to show them traditions here at Wisconsin. So she's had to do a lot. Again, I think she's done an extremely great job at it.
I think her performance on game day where she's out there, she's usually the last match out. She's upset some ranked opponents this year, which is the first time she's done that since she's been here. Been very close with some other players that are highly ranked.
I think she's handled it really well, and she's a great role model for these players to learn how to fight on game day and come prepared to practice. I think she's been a great role model for them.