“Everyone can do something with the Bundesliga”

Sheila Moradian and Steffen Klasen from GHTC tennis ladies
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“Everyone can do something with the Bundesliga”

After the surprising increase, the tennis ladies from Gladbacher HTC start their adventure in the 2nd Bundesliga. A conversation about the extra cost of nationwide away trips, the chances in the higher division and the hope of more spectators.

The first season of the 2nd Bundesliga begins for the women of the Gladbacher HTC on Friday. It’s going to the away game in Berlin. A conversation with coach Steffen Klasen and team captain Sheila Moradian about the new division.

Sir. Klasen and Ms. Moradian, 2. Bundesliga: It’s a whole other pound in terms of sound. What are you especially looking forward to?

Sheila Moradian What I am most looking forward to are the away trips to the clubs in Berlin and Hamburg and a good time with the team. I will also enjoy playing the Bundesliga for the first time.

Steffen Klasen On the opponents and the players you now face, as well as the matches. It’s something completely different from what we’ve seen in the regional league.

You are now traveling nationwide instead of regionally. What extra work does it involve?

classes It’s definitely a lot of work, so I’m also glad we got a team manager in Alexander Daun. We are now splitting up the organization. It starts with very simple things, for example what is the best way to get to Berlin, which of the players come from abroad and do they only come here or do they fly directly to the game? How do we handle hotels best?

What is the extra time required as a player? The outdoor trips are now not just around the corner, but hundreds of kilometers away.

Moradian Some games also take place during the week, for example on Fridays. You must take time off when you are already working. Usually the day before. It can be a little harder for some of the organization to find time for the fights.

classes But I can say that all the players are totally euphoric and ready for the season. This year’s appointment request has never been so easy.

Moradian The Bundesliga is extra motivating, especially if you have never played in the Bundesliga before. Anyone can relate to the term. We are proud of that.

How was the preparation different this year?

classes We spent five days in Mallorca at a training camp. We’ve never done that before. The idea for this arose last summer. We got together and planned a lot, also based on the euphoria about the promotion.

Moradian We try to train regularly here at the facility in doubles or singles. It’s more serious than last year.

How do you assess the schedule?

classes We’re going to Berlin, Bielefeld and Hamburg. The costs of traveling are perhaps only a little difficult on the double match day, where we only play in Bielefeld on Thursday and in Hamburg on Saturday. If you just take last season and look at the names, then we play the first three matches against the much stronger teams. If we end up with three defeats after three days of play, that would be stupid. But we will not go into a fight and say we do not have a chance. On the last day of the game day, we have Aachen as opponents at home – if there is still something at stake, then it would probably be an advantage.

In the regional league, the opponents were best known, what does it look like in the Bundesliga?

classes I have been very involved with the teams. You look at the troops and the results. But one does not know in advance who will end up with which team. However, I rate Berlin and Club an der Alster as the strongest teams in the league.

Moradian One or another player is already known and I can imagine that our newcomers already know some opponents from the professional tennis tour. But it is different than playing against famous faces within a radius of 100 kilometers in the regional league. But I think it’s interesting to get new opponents.

Let’s talk about newcomers: Darya Astakhova, Abbie Myers, Mariana Drazic and Elena Bogdan. Where do you make the team better?

classes Darya and Abbie are both strong players in first place. Mariana makes the team better because she has experience and has also played in the Bundesliga. It’s the same with Elena, she also has Bundesliga experience.

What about the availability of newcomers?

classes I made the new signings in advance together with department manager Henrik Schmidt. We deliberately only took players who guaranteed us a few games. Therefore, they will play relatively often.

How to integrate the international actors?

classes We included them in the Whatsapp groups and in our communications. That’s what makes our team special: We integrate players quickly because our girls are so stable here. The four newcomers are also on the international tennis tour and travel, so they were not at the training camp.

The newcomers are all at the top of the seed list. As a result, players who were involved in promotion last year slip down – and may get fewer bets. To what extent is there a balance between team and performance ideas in the new division?

classes The balance is definitely there. But I’m sure the team spirit will separate us again this season because the core of the team is still there. The girls are very much connected to each other. But certainly not everyone will be able to play all games.

What characterizes this team spirit?

Moradian We are not only teammates, we are also friends. This is not the case for all teams. We also like to do something together privately. It has a positive effect on the course. The team is very regional. Our Dutch players have also been there for years.

How do you realistically assess yourself in the league?

classes We definitely think we have a chance to stay in the league – because of the squad planning and how we approach the league now.

To what extent does the increase also help the status of women’s tennis?

Moradian I hope the team gets more attention and that more spectators come to us. And who knows what significance it will have for the young – that more girls will start playing tennis.

classes The men’s 1st Bundesliga, of course, has a completely different appeal. But I think the interest in the women’s team is already there. We have never advertised for our games in previous years. This is the first time we have drawn attention to ourselves outside the club. Let’s see how many come to our game.

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