Senior focus: Grant Handloser

Upper hand: Communication key for Seymour doubles player

Seymour’s Grant Handloser feels like he has a definite advantage with his height when it comes to playing high school doubles tennis matches.

“I am 6-1, and Johnny (Rennekamp) is probably the same height as I am or a little taller,” Handloser said. “A lot of times Johnny and I will play aggressively and approach the net on more points than a normal doubles team will because it gives us an advantage at the net because we can use our long arms and our height to span the entire court and cover more space,” Handloser said.

The senior spent most of his time at No. 1 doubles this fall.

He prefers playing aggressively up front rather than grinding-it-out from the baseline.

“I like playing more at the net,” Handloser said. “I think Johnny and I do best when he’s playing back and I’m playing at the net, but when I serve I definitely like Johnny up there at the net because he can take my serve and hit an overhead or volley the ball back and put the point away.”

One of the strongest facets of Handloser’s game was his service game.

“My serve is the best part of my game,” he said. “It’s what I’ve been working on for years now, and it’s really what I use as a weapon in my matches. I hit more of a flat serve, but it does have a little bit of a top spin on it.”

He said he feels he has good lateral movement to run down balls, and he likes to use all his shots.

“I try to use my other shots to set up the point instead of playing defense,” Handloser said. “I try to play more aggressively. I like to trust my shot and hit balls instead of trying to play conservatively and just pop the balls back.”

With a partner, constant communication was a major key to success.

“Communication is definitely important, Johnny and I struggled at the beginning of the year because we hadn’t played doubles together, but we worked on that and definitely got better with that,” Handloser said.

“After playing with Josiah (Rudge), it was kind of hard for me to adjust because they have different playing styles.”

Prior to matches, Handloser focused on his opponents strengths and weaknesses.

“Warming up in doubles, you usually hit with the person ahead of you and you get to see the other person’s serve,” Handloser said. “Johnny and I definitely had to pick out their weaknesses, and before the match we will communicate with each-other and devise a game plan.”

This season Handloser was named one of the team’s captains.

“It was definitely a great feeling because I felt like my hard work had paid off, and I got to lead this team like I had seen so many of the other guys do in the past,” Handloser said. “It was definitely a boost of confidence for my senior season.

For Handloser, keeping a level head is just as important as having the physical tools.

The mental game is almost harder than the physical game because the mental game is something that only you can control, and drills won’t necessarily help,” Handloser said. “It’s the experience of playing that will help you get the mental strength that you need to win.”

Some of Handloser’s favorite memories are with his teammates off the court.

“My favorite part of tennis was not only the game but the team,” Handloser said. “I think that from my freshman year up until now we’ve remained a close team, and there are a lot of fun guys on the team that have made it worthwhile, and we’ve just grown together.”

At a glance

Name: Grant Handloser

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Mark and Laura Handloser

Siblings: Braden, JC, Drew

Sports: tennis 4 years, baseball 1 year

Athletic highlights: 2015 sectional champions

Organizations: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, choir, student government

Plans after high school: attend college

Favorite food: chicken casserole

Favorite singer: Lil Dicky

Favorite movie: Hot Rod

Favorite team: Indiana Pacers

Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.