Tiger Tales is a weekly piece highlighting a DePauw student-athlete. Athletic-intern Adam Tierney conducts the interviews.
Dan Rodefeld is a junior on the men's tennis team who finished last year with a singles record of 12-15 and a doubles record of 18-11.
Rodefeld comes from Carmel, Ind. and is a graduate of Carmel High School. He loves hanging out with friends, family, playing sports and listening to music.
Rodefeld is studying Quantitative Design. He is involved with his fraternity Phi Delta Theta and helps with their philanthropy events. They have an event called "Strikes and Steals" that benefits ALS as well as other events that help out the community.
Q: What are the team goals for this season?
A: Number one is we want to win conference this year where we have come in second the past two years. I think we have a good shot this year, better than most. Number two is keep the bond strong between the guy -- not let anything come between us which I think we've done well this year which has helped us win matches and pull out some close ones.
Q: How would you describe your team atmosphere?
A: Our team atmosphere this year is great. This is the year that our team chemistry has been the strongest. In my class in particular, we have about six or seven guys who are juniors, and its fun to be around all of them. We had a lot of freshmen come in, and they add to that. The energy is great. Then with our seniors, who are leading, have helped us a lot in matches throughout the season.
Q: What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
A: The main thing is I try to keep up with my fitness and workout. Not just when we have team workouts or things like that, but I like to do runs by myself and get into the weight room. Another thing is getting good nutrition and getting the right foods that are going to fuel and recover me when I need it. Those are the things that I try to focus on that are in my control.
Q: What role has your team/coach played in your life at DePauw?
A: I think definitely with my coach, he isn't the most aggressive or vocal coach, but he is good at calming you down. He knows exactly what to say during the changeover whether that is tactics or just things going on with your mental game. In addition to that, he has great life lessons. He has been around tennis his whole life and he knows the sport in and out and on and off the court. He really is helping us become better men, and I think that's awesome. And with the team, I think the greatest thing they have done is held me accountable and making sure I doing the best I can. Of course, I've made sure I can do the same to them as well. I think that sense of accountability is a drive to make us better.
Q: Do you like winning or hate losing more?
A: Honestly, I love the satisfaction of winning, but I can't stand to lose. I'm a big competitor and losing is probably the worst thing for me. Granted, if we won the national championship, I'm going to be all for that. But if we are just playing a pickup basketball game or a board game, I'm going to get upset if I lose.
Q: What are some life lessons that tennis teaches you?
A: The main one is independence. You're out there on your own. Ever since I was playing since I was little, it's just been me on the court, and there is no one else out there with you. You either win by yourself or lose by yourself. I think that sense of independence is one of the strongest characteristics of tennis players. It is such a lonely sport being out there, but it helps out with things later in life, and this has definitely shaped me into the person I am today.
Q: What advice would you have for young tennis players looking to improve themselves?
A: I think that main thing is to keep working hard and keep playing. It's a great sport, and it's something you can play your whole life. It may be hard at times, but once you learn it, it's a great sport.
Q: Do you have any superstitions?
A: I'm actually a very superstitious person. When I play, one of the main things I do is to try not to step on the lines during the game. That's only in between points. If we are playing the point, then that's fine, but in between points I try to avoid them. In addition to that, I bounce the ball a certain amount of times before I serve.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: It's by John Wooden. "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." I remember when I was young my dad used to tell me that and it always stuck with me. I think it's pretty relevant to how you prepare for a match or anything in life.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete past or present?
A: My favorite athlete is Roger Federer. He's been a role model to me. I always try to imitate him or do things that he would do whether it is in practice or in matches. He is a class act and a really good guy. He plays the game like it's supposed to be.