There are a few Mr. and Ms. Indiana’s around IU athletics these days. You have, most notably, Romeo Langford on the men’s basketball team and Reese Taylor who plays football.
But there is another Mr. Indiana who has quietly gone about his business as he prepares for the upcoming season. Meet Carmel, Indiana native, and 2018 Mr. Tennis for the state of Indiana, Patrick Fletchall.
Fletchall knows the Mr. Indiana name may come with a little bit of pressure. But he isn’t worried about it.
— Carmel Tennis (@CarmelHSTennis) October 21, 2017
“You can’t compare with Romeo and the football guys, but there’s a little bit of pressure there, but not too much,” Fletchall said. “I’m just here to get business done.”
Throughout Fletchall’s high school tennis career, he was very successful. At Carmel High School, just north of Indianapolis, Fletchall was a two-time high school state singles champion and two-time Indiana high school player of the year. Those accomplishments earned him the boy’s tennis player of the year award at the IndyStar sports awards in 2018.
But now entering the collegiate game, Fletchall realizes there is a lot more it than just competing on the tennis court.
“I think balancing the school aspect with the tennis aspect and the conditioning is a lot bigger of a step up,” Fletchall said. “I think it’s been difficult, but fun at the same time. On the tennis side, I’ve learned that it’s totally different than high school tennis and you have to work day in and day out and have a positive attitude about anything.”
Congrats to incoming freshman Patrick Fletchall, who earned the Boys Tennis Player of the Year Award at the IndyStar Sports Awards! Way to go @patrickfletch05 #GoIU #IUMT ⚪️🔴 pic.twitter.com/2AYhVwxWZh
— Indiana Men’s Tennis (@IndianaMTennis) May 1, 2018
Getting Fletchall to IU wasn’t the hardest recruitment for head coach Jeremy Wurtzman. Fletchall’s dad attended Indiana and he grew up rooting for the Hoosiers. That was one sign that he wanted to come to Indiana.
Another was it being close to home. That enabled Fletchall to come and visit the team often. Something that didn’t go unnoticed through the recruitment process, according to Wurtzman.
“Patrick, early on, would take a lot of unofficial visits, come watch practice, matches and wanted us to know this is where he wanted to go to school,” Wurtzman said. “That made it easier for us to want to follow him. It always helps when a kid wants to be apart of your program. You definitely want that kid to eventually come to school at IU.”
With Fletchall now in the fold at Indiana, he is one of three Indiana players on the roster and the only Indiana player from outside of Bloomington. The roster also includes players from two foreign countries and five other states, besides Indiana. It’s a team that Wurtzman likes because of the amount of depth and the core players they have returning.
— Carmel Tennis (@CarmelHSTennis) April 29, 2018
“That’s how competitive this sport of tennis is,” Fletchall said. “They come from all over; foreigners, all different parts of the country. Finding a group of guys from across the country that wants to win is good for the team.”
Fletchall didn’t just fall into the sport of tennis. Both his dad and his sister also played the sport and had an influence on him picking it up. Because of that, he would follow them to the court. The family rivalry was a big aspect of Patrick playing his sister often.
Wanting to beat his sister on the court was something that pushed Fletchall and helped mold him into the player he is today. He calls both his sister and his dad two big role models for him.
They helped mold him into the player he is today. But now at Indiana, Wurtzman is excited to see his skills progress in the college game.
“He’s got a huge serve, very powerful forehand, good hands at the net,” Wurtzman said. “It really is a game that will play at every level and play at the highest level. It’s going to be up to us to groom that and up to him to work hard and stay true to the process and discipline. We really feel like he’s moving in a great direction and every day comes with a great attitude. He’s really like a sponge in that he tries to listen and get a little better every day.”
— Joe Spears (@joe_spears7) October 21, 2017
Being that sponge that Wurtzman calls him, he’s picked up on advice from upperclassmen, but has also had to figure things out on his own. The balance that is needed in high school may not be the same as what he will see in college, but hard work will help things fall into place.
Having the honor of the top in-state recruit can be a challenge. Fletchall isn’t denying that fact and is excited to get his collegiate career going.
“I think there’s a little bit of pressure coming to the big state school that’s in Indiana,” Fletchall said. “At the same time, I know how competitive D1 tennis is and I know I’m a freshman too and here like everyone else. So I’m just trying to do the best I can.”