Dave Heitsch believes his doubles team of Jacob Flentke and James Bertheau could be a state contender.
The Union boys tennis coach is basing that claim on past history. And that’s a good strategy because there hasn’t been a lot of recent history to go off.
“It’s been like two years since we’ve played anybody outside our own area,” Bertheau said.
The last time Flentke and Bertheau advanced out of district and to the bi-district tournament up north, it was the fall of 2019. And back then, they were playing for different schools — Flentke for Union and Bertheau for Mountain View.
Neither would get to play at state that season as COVID wiped out the spring season when tennis holds its state championship.
During the 2020-21 season in February and March of this year, Flentke and Bertheau were teammates at Union, but last season did not extend past the regular season.
The two seniors have been the Titans’ No. 1 and 2 singles players this fall. For the postseason, they will return to No. 1 doubles.
“We’re both doubles players actually, but Heitsch just wanted us to play singles,” Flentke said. “We both participated in state doubles, James at 3A because he played at Mountain View (in 2019). We’re both doubles players. We both have great volleys, so we actually feel more comfortable playing doubles.”
Back in the spring of 2019, Bertheau teamed with Vincent Hsu to place fourth at the 3A state tournament. That same spring, Flentke paired with Kyle Mosier to place third at the 4A state tournament.
Flentke and Bertheau have played as doubles partners three times this fall, twice this week as they prepare for the 4A district tournament Friday and Saturday at Club Green Meadows.
Neither player thinks the last-season adjustment will be a difficult one.
“We’re always hitting with each other,” Bertheau said.
Flentke added: “If we play really good people, we’re going to have to prepare for that.”
Heitsch believes Flentke and Bertheau will compete for a state title next spring, just like another Union doubles team did in 2017.
“And I’m comparing it to Alex Calpagiu and Andrew Chanthavong a few years back,” Heitsch said. “They won it. And these guys are just as good as those guys.
“Jacob and James are so good, they make it look so easy. It’s fun to watch them. It looks like they don’t care, but they really do. They’re just smooth and fluid it looks effortless.”