Q&A with Emily Fraser
This week the Virginia women’s tennis team travels to Cary, N.C. for the 2010 ACC Tournament. The sixth-seeded Cavaliers open play Thursday at 3 p.m. against No. 11 seed Boston College. Virginiasports.com caught up with sophomore Emily Fraser to discuss the season thus far and look ahead at the postseason.
Question: This season the team tied the school record with six ACC regular season wins. Do you think those results give you a lot of confidence as you head into the ACC Tournament?
Fraser: It absolutely does. I think we are peaking right now, towards the end of the season. This is the best I have felt about our team and where we stand since I have been here. I am really excited for the ACC Tournament this weekend, along with the NCAA Tournament next month, because I think we can do some things that we have never done before.
Question: In the last few weeks you have played three top 10 teams close, falling 4-3 to No. 1 North Carolina and No. 8 Clemson, along with a close 5-2 loss to No. 5 Duke. What do you have to do to pull out a win against teams like that if you see one of them in the postseason?
Fraser: When you look at those matches, it shows that we are competitive with those top 10 teams. It shows that we have the talent to compete with them. I don’t think you can look at one thing in those matches that we need to do better. We just need to have really good practices all year long so that we have the strength to close out those matches. That is the difference between those top-10 teams and other good teams is the ability to pull out those close matches and that is where we want to able to do.
Question: You had some injury issues earlier in the season, but seem to be playing your best tennis of the season in recent weeks. Do you feel like your individual game is peaking at the right time?
Fraser: I do. I had a lot of problems with my confidence coming back from my injury. I only ended up taking about a month-and-a-half off, it took me longer to get back into the swing of competitive tennis. I definitely think my game is taking a turn for the better and this is a good time of the year to be peaking.
Question: You open the ACC Tournament with Boston College, a team that you played in the regular season back in February. Is there a challenge to playing a team that you haven’t seen for so long?
Fraser: It is a challenge. You can’t take anyone for granted in the ACC. We did beat them 7-0 up there during the regular season, but it is different now. That match was indoors where this time it is outdoors. Also, I know they have gotten better over the past two months, just as we have. We are expecting a good match.
Question: In recent years, the team has won in the first round of the ACC Tournament on Thursday, but lost in Friday’s quarterfinals. What do you have to do in order to advance to the semifinals and beyond?
Fraser: It is a matter of having the right kind of energy every day in practice and carrying that into every match. I think we are close to getting over that hump to make the weekend at the ACC Tournament. But it is definitely an obstacle that we are working hard to get past.