For The Tribune
Josiah Rudge began playing tennis in the seventh grade at Seymour Middle School, and he said he thinks that it was the best athletics decision he has ever made.
Josiah’s older brother, Andrew, played tennis and graduated from Seymour last spring, and their sister, Addie, will be a member of the Owls’ girls team again next spring.
Andrew played No. 1 doubles and Josiah played No. 2 doubles last fall.
“I started in seventh grade just knowing that it would be fun,” Rudge said. “I played singles in middle school, but in high school I’ve only been doubles. Doubles is so different. It’s hard to really compare. It’s fun.”
Rudge said by moving up to No. 1, “I thought I would be able to tell more of a difference this year, but it’s not as much of a difference as I thought.”
He said communication is one key to being successful in doubles.
“You always want to be on the offensive,” Rudge said. “I play on the left side, the backhand side. I like to get to the net as much as possible. We have a lot of quick points with two or three shots. We just get to the net as soon as we can.”
The senior said being able to adjust to the wind is important.
“On a windy day you don’t want to try to lob it over your opponents,” Rudge said. “It will probably blow out or into them. I really watch the wind when I’m serving. The wind can throw it off. Usually, if you have the wind you want to be more aggressive.”
Rudge said he and Grant Handloser need to get off to better starts as the season winds down.
“With me and my partner, we usually don’t really get going until the second set, to be honest, most of the time,” Rudge said. “If we win, it’s often in three sets, and not two.”
For Rudge, muscle memory has played role in developing his game.
“Probably one of my more favorite parts about tennis is the conditioning,” Rudge said. “When you’re hitting a tennis ball you have to be controlled and watch what you are doing. Conditioning, you can just go all out, you don’t have to hold back.”
Rudge said you have to believe in your ability in all sports, but especially in tennis.
“I think, in tennis, it especially is important,” he said. “You only have to be physically involved a very short time, but mentally you’ve got to be on for two or three hours. Physically, it’s all broken up into little points.
“If you lose, you have to lose making your own mistakes because those are the ones you can fix and come back. You don’t want to lose by unforced errors. If you’re making the mistakes, at least you’re controlling the match, even if you are losing.”
As sectional approaches, Rudge said he believes that keeping a strong morale will prove important.
“For us to win we have to have a good mental attitude,” Rudge said. “We have a good coach (Brad Emerson). He knows what to tell us to do as far as form and strategy, and play like we know how to.
Parents: Keith and Christin
Siblings: Addie, Andrew and Emily
Sports: Tennis, four years
Athletic highlights: Mental attitude award
Plans after high school: Attend college
Favorite food: Peanut butter
Favorite TV show: “Seinfeld”
Favorite band: Twenty One Pilots
Favorite movie: “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”
Favorite team: Ohio State football
What’s it like playing three full sets in a match?
“I think every time we’re down the first set and then take the next two its pretty fun. I think we did do that this year against Scottsburg.
“It definitely helps that the scorecards get flipped back to 0-0 so it feels like a fresh start. It’s sort of an eb-and-flow with the momentum. It’s almost like ‘now it’s your turn’ to have the momentum. That usually helps.”
Do you enjoy playing on your home courts?
“We have nice courts. We have 10 of them, and that’s nice. We have better lights than most other courts. Brown County’s are terraced, and I like them.”
How has your time been at Seymour High School?
“I like it. It’s all on you to make the most of it. I’ve taken every AP course.”