When two competitors step onto the court,there are no more excuses. A single player takes the victory while the other one takes a loss. The sport of tennis is a highly competitive one, especially when the outcome of a match is determinant on your skills, alone. Senior Francisca Norregaard has been playing the sport for around 16 to 17 years. Her college experience has been a journey and her approach on the game is from a veteran’s process.
The match has not started yet. Before it begins, each player routinely prepares herself. Norregaard has found expressing herself to be one of her best ways to prepare.
“I usually talk to my teammates and my coaches,” Norregaard said. “I like to be verbal about my feelings and my thoughts before a match. I think talking can help boost my confidence. That’s what given me the most effective influence on my game: When I talk to people and express how I feel; what I’m thinking. It makes me feel more loose and makes me feel more comfortable on the court.”
“Right when we start, I’m a little nervous,” Norregaard said. “I want to have a good start, but that’s not usually how it turns out for me. I am kind of a slow starter. I like to get into a rhythm and feel the pulse in my heart going.”
When Norregaard takes to the court to face off against her opponent, her preemptive thoughts start going. She has her mind moving and her routine actively paced out.
“I focus more on the physical aspect of tennis rather than the technical and strategic,” Norregarrd said. “That makes me relax a lot more. I try to stay calm and confident when I go out on court. Tennis is so mental. It’s about keeping your mind straight and having focus points that can keep you focused on what you’re doing rather than focusing on all the intangible things you can’t control.”
The flow of a match varies, especially when the tempo shifts from one player’s favor to the other. This is Norregaard’s fourth and final season as an Eagle. She is used to feeling pressure during a match. Whether it’s playing away or being the clincher, Norregaard’s seniority gives her an edge.
“I feel like it’s more of a decision and a maturity level,” Norregaard said. “I don’t get as nervous and don’t think about as many things as I did as I was younger. It’s still just tennis. If I win or lose, I’m still going to be alive after my match. I think when you’re younger, you take things a lot more seriously. I still want to do my best, and be the best for the team, but I don’t feel like it weighs as much on my shoulders as it did when I was younger.”
Norregaard came back in her match against Presbyterian’s Claire-Mitchell Andrews to defeat her 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 a few weeks ago. Her last win a week ago against Kennesaw State’s Ashleigh de Wet came by a score of 6-0, 6-1. In tennis, positivity and having a stronger mindset can be enough to beat your opponent.
“It’s about staying confident and believing in yourself,” Norregaard said. “If you start doubting yourself, you really don’t stand a chance in tennis. You’re all alone out there on the court. I guess it’s about using those golden moments to keep riding on and use them to your advantage. Stay pumped up. Keep fighting throughout the match. Use your experience and past moments to get your wins.”
Women’s tennis is 5-3 on the season. They will be playing Nicholls State at home on Friday, Feb. 26 at 12 p.m.