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(Page last updated 9/29/08)

4.0 Wisconsin/Midwest Women – Venus Envy

September 25, 2008 BLOG

Day 1
To say that playing at the USTA National tournament is a dream come true would be a lie, or at least an exaggeration. As a group of mostly moms, a college student, part-time & full time working professionals, we have a fair amount of perspective and never really allowed ourselves to look that far ahead. 

Our team has been together for nearly five years, since Debbie Keller and I decided to take on the challenge of captaining our own team, but most of us have played league tennis much longer than that.  In fact, our team matriarch, Carole Grunow, has been involved with USTA leagues for 26 years.  Our little angel (at a mere 6’1”), Gina Dahl, is 20 years old but has maturity, composure, and sportsmanship well beyond that. The rest of us fall somewhere in between but make up an incredibly eclectic group with tennis backgrounds ranging from players who have taken up tennis in adulthood to players with competitive high school and/or college experience.

Making the Wisconsin State tournament for four straight years was a thrill, but those pesky teams from Milwaukee seemed insurmountable.  Qualifying for the Midwest Sectional tournament in Indianapolis last year was even more exciting, but we pretty much had our lunch handed to us on the courts (while having a fabulous time off of them!)  This year, after squeaking out of the State tourney we were realistic about our chances in Indy but hopeful that having a few extra players would make us more competitive.  Lo and behold…we swept the Midwest Section, losing just three individual matches (out of 20) along the way.  As far as we know, no MALT (Madison Area League Tennis) adult team has ever qualified for Nationals.  Tucson, here we come!!

9/25/08:  Depart from Madison, WI at 6:50am.  Ten of fourteen teammates on the same Northwest Airlines flight and several of us are wearing Wisconsin Tennis t-shirts…very proud to be Badgers.  Before takeoff, the flight attendant kindly recognized the USTA 4.0 Women (she almost said USDA) heading to Nationals and while no one cheered but us, it was still a nice send off. 

Arrival in Tucson, 10:45am PST.  No rooms ready, so the afternoon was spent with some of us working out, others lounging by the pool, and a few hitting around on the three constantly busy hotel courts.  Team registration, captains meeting, dinner for 10 at an excellent “wine country” restaurant.  A wonderful Day 1, and hopefully a good night sleep before competition begins…