WIAA boys tennis sectionals: Monona Grove’s Lindwall brothers turning up the heat
Monona Grove’s Lindwall brothers came into the prep boys tennis season expecting the best. Yet, both of their seasons began unfavorably.
After that early bumpy ride, though, all signs now point toward a smooth landing. It could even include appearances in next week’s WIAA Division 1 state tournament — if both can advance through Wednesday’s Madison Memorial sectional at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
Senior Cole Lindwall, the Silver Eagles’ No. 1 player, has built a 16-6 record despite breaking his left wrist in his first match of the season.
His brother, Chase, a freshman, is 20-2 at No. 2 singles and has won 23 of 24 matches overall (including other flights) after losing four of his first six matches.
“Getting to play with my brother, that’s been a really cool thing to have,” Chase Lindwall said.
“We definitely push each other a lot,” Cole Lindwall said. “A brother at practice every day really pushes you along, because you never want to lose to him — even if it’s a little bump game that doesn’t mean anything. There’s always that sibling rivalry there.
“So having a guy like Chase who’s really coming along, breathing down your neck, you’ve really got to stay sharp at all times.”
Not only did Cole Lindwall’s injury force him to miss five early matches, he’s had to play with just his right hand all season — a big deal for a guy who had relied on his two-handed backhand shot.
Lindwall quickly had to learn to use a one-handed backhand. He’s had to adjust other parts of his game to compensate —increasing his aggressiveness, approaching the net more, and making plays happen with his forehand shot.
But now, Cole Lindwall stands one victory away from his second consecutive state berth. Last year, he went 17-6 and fell in the second round to eventual runner-up Noel Raut of Oshkosh West. It was the third consecutive year Lindwall fell in the second round at state.
Cole’s brother, Chase Lindwall, is a freshman with clear potential for a big high school career. Like his brother, though, his season also began unfavorably. Chase lost his first three matches of the season and four of his first six before solidifying his game.
“I had to just try and figure out what was working for me and what wasn’t,” Chase Lindwall said, “And then (I just got) my confidence to play better.”
As the season reaches its high point, the Lindwall brothers have been turning expectations into reality. Last week, they helped Monona Grove earn its first Badger South Conference championship in more than a decade.
“Ever since I came in freshman year, our goal has been to win a conference championship,” said Cole Lindwall, who has built a 62-30 record at No. 1 singles in high school. “And now, in my senior year, achieving that goal was really big for the team — the senior class especially.”
All that remains for the Lindwall brothers to conquer is state. Cole Lindwall wants to break through his personal second-round barrier and make it at least as far as the quarterfinals.
“I’ve gone to state the past three years now, and I’ve always been knocked out in the second round. I’d like to make it deeper in the tournament if I can. But we’ll just see how it goes,” Cole Lindwall said.