Scott Gerber photographed the action photos and most, but not all, of the state qualifier group photos. Interview


OTZ Interview with Turpin's Grant Wendel

Matches might get stopped because of inclement weather, but not interviews - but it was close - nearby lightning forced the shut down of the OTZ computer immediately after our interview. OhioTennisZone's second senior interview of the season is with Turpin's Grant Wendel.

Wendel is a four-year, court one player for Turpin. His goals for this year? "My biggest goal for this season to get back to States. I was disappointed that I did not get there last year because I was able to sophomore year. Another goal of mine is to win the ECC again. Turpin has won the ECC four years in a row and I'm hoping that we can make it five years in a row."

He will be attending Ohio State next fall to study pharmacy. Wendel commented, "Ohio State was always my number one choice because they have one of the best pharmacy schools in the country and it is relatively close to home. I was primarily looking at schools in the Midwest because I wanted to stay close to home. Other than Ohio State, I looked at other Big Ten schools, including Purdue, Michigan State, and University of Illinois."

Turpin's Grant Wendel
Turpin's Grant Wendel - Click to enlarge
After he decided to attend Ohio State, Wendel began throttling back tennis tournament play and focus on academics. He has taken advantage of Advanced Placement courses at Turpin. He has taken 12 - with six this year. His favorite AP's were AP Macro Economics and AP Government.

His interest in econ makes sense because he is a math/science guy. "I have always liked how analytical math and science are and how the material is not up for interpretation. Math and science have always come naturally to me."

Wendel began playing tennis at an early age. "I started playing tennis when I was three years old. My dad, Rich, introduced me to tennis and some of my earliest memories are with him playing tennis. Everyone in my family has played tennis at some point. My brother, Richard, and my mom, Comfort, do not play tennis anymore, but I still hit with my dad." His father owns a law firm. His mother is the head of HR at a wealth management firm. His older brother is attending the University of Illinois and majors in computer science.

Prior to scaling back he was a 4-star on and his best national ranking neared the top 100. His UTR is no longer listed but it is likely that it would be in the high 11's.

Most players consider their forehands their favorite shot, but not Wendel. "My favorite shot is my kick serve. I learned it around the age of 11 and I think it is my weapon. It's not only my highest percentage serve, it is probably my highest percentage shot."

Turpin's Grant Wendel
Turpin's Grant Wendel - Click to enlarge
Wendel has enjoyed his high school tennis experience. "What I like most about high school tennis is the camaraderie I have with my teammates. I like tennis because it is an individual sport, but I like being able to interact with my friends on the team. A lot of my close friends are on the team and that always makes practices and matches more enjoyable." His enjoyment of team tennis might continue at Ohio State. OSU has an active USTA Tennis on Campus program and he is interested in exploring that option. Other Cincinnati-area players who participate include Sycamore's Noah Stern, Walnut Hill's Lilly O'Toole, and Mason's Charlie Yu. [See OTZ's USTA Tennis on Campus article from March 9.]

As for the mandatory OhioTennisZone usage question, "My favorite thing to read on OTZ is just seeing the other results in different parts of Ohio. I know most of the results that come from the Cincinnati area, but outside of that, I do not know any of the results in other areas like Columbus. So OTZ comes in handy when I'm looking at other teams."

In addition to tennis, he ran cross country all four years with his best time being 17:19 in a 5K. He also competed on Turpin's Academic Quiz Team for two years. Last summer, he studied abroad in Spain at the University of Salamanca to improve his Spanish speaking and understanding skills. He may also minor in Spanish at OSU.

Turpin Coach Katelyn Rodgers offered these comments about Wendel. "It's easy to see why Grant is such an accomplished student and athlete. He actively seeks challenges in every facet of his life, and it's no coincidence that he is the hardest working player on the court, without question. In addition to his exceptional work ethic, Grant is always helping his teammates' with their technique, attitudes, and overall strategy. Grant's knowledge of the game is impressive and watching him develop into the teammate and leader he is today is very cool to see. Grant has developed a solid reputation within the tennis community where opposing players, coaches and parents not only compliment him as a player, but also respect him as a person. It is for all of these reasons and more that I feel proud and honored to have been Grant's high school coach."

As for his time-robbing, social media vice, he uses Twitter and his handle is @GrantWendel.

With all of the spring breaks now over and a slight break expected in the weather this week, hopefully Ohio high school boys tennis will get on a roll. Turpin plays St. Xavier today at Turpin that will pit Wendel against St. X's Ronit Hiryur.