Summer Update: Men's Tennis -- Five Questions with Jim Madrigal
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University Athletic Media Relations recently caught up with men's tennis head coach Jim Madrigal for a summer update called 'Five Questions.'
Madrigal enters his 15th season as the head coach of the men's tennis program. During his tenure as head coach, Belmont has won one A-Sun title and has reached the A-Sun semifinals five times. In 2011-12, BU returns four letterwinners from last year's squad and adds two transfers.
A myriad of topics were discussed, including reflection on last year's team, a preview of this year's squad, and the future of American tennis on the professional level.
Going into the summer break, what were the areas that you wanted your team to work on?
"During the summer, I just wanted the upperclassmen to keep their games in shape so when we start the fall season, they will be ready to play."
What impact will your two new players have on this year's squad?
"I think our two transfers will make an immediate impact. They will make us a better team this season and help us contend for a conference title this spring."
Belmont will be moving to the Ohio Valley Conference in 2012. How will the change in conference affiliation impact your program?
"We have had a great 10 years in the Atlantic Sun Conference. With the move to the OVC next year, I think the biggest impact will be the ability to build some great rivalries with programs that are close to us like Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech, and Murray State."
You are now starting your 15th year at Belmont, what are the biggest changes you have seen in collegiate tennis?
"I think the biggest change during my tenure at Belmont is the amount of talent playing collegiate tennis right now. When I first started coaching, most teams had two to three good players. Now, teams have five maybe six good players, so teams have so much more depth."
A non-Belmont question… American tennis seems to be struggling on the professional level. There seem to be no new rising stars. What two or three things would do to help American tennis improve?
"I think the key to improving American tennis is having all the American players practice and play together. Right now, American players tend to just practice on their own. The top foreign players practice and play with other top players from their own country. They do this because it forces them to practice and compete harder. If the American players would follow this model, I think they would be better prepared to win tournaments, especially major championships."