Adjusting to top-notch tennis

by Dan Miller

Minnesota women’s tennis player Lindsay Risebrough believes things happen for a reason.

Last fall, she never counted on tearing ligaments in her back that would dash her hopes of becoming a Minnesota state champion.

Risebrough entered the tournament as the second-ranked singles player in the state. After tearing the ligaments in the quarterfinal match, she was beaten in the semifinal.

But don’t try to get Risebrough down.

“When I came back, I was better than I was before,” Risebrough said. “So, I think it was a good thing it happened.”

On Tuesday, as Risebrough made her way to one of her team’s 6 a.m. fall workouts, she knew coming to the Gophers was not something she had counted on either.

“I surprised myself,” Risebrough said. “I wanted to get away somewhere by the ocean and hot weather.”

A decision-changing recruiting trip to the University was unexpected.

“I loved the coaches, I loved the players and the school and the facilities are unbelieveable,” she said.

Coach Tyler Thomson said there are a lot of challenges facing freshmen, especially coming straight from high school.

Thomson breaks it down into two transitions: the switch to the more mature college tennis and the more mature college lifestyle.

“They have to be responsible for meals, class and practice,” Thomson said. “And many times, freshmen have a tough time adjusting to this.”

But Risebrough has a solution.

“Over the next week or so I am going to be developing a set schedule with tennis, practice times and school,” she said. “But as an athlete, you have more privileges and benefits than others, so I have a lot of people to help me out with whatever.”

Thomson said the transition to college tennis can be a difficult step for freshmen as well.

“The college game is so different,” Thomson said. “It is a different level of tennis that is difficult to get to from one-dimensional high school tennis.”

But Risebrough has a solution to this, too.

“Hopefully, I can get up to the level sooner than expected,” she said. “I know it is going to take a lot of hours and sacrifice, but hopefully I can do that.”

Thomson said Risebrough has a good start on what has been put on her plate.

“Lindsay has handled things amazingly,” he said. “She has handled every situation very responsibly and maturely.”

And if you ask Risebrough, she will say this happened for a reason.