Despite the comparisons to her sisters, Natalie Rahrig has always been unique on the tennis court.
The senior has been Bishop Luers’ No. 1 singles player the last two years and played at No. 2 singles for two years before that. Rahrig played behind older sister Samantha for the first two years.
There is also younger sister Caroline, 13, an up-and-coming prodigy in her own right.
Luers coach Jerry Rahrig said, though, his middle daughter has a game all her own.
I never thought that she was in her sister’s shadow, Jerry said. Natalie has always been very much her own player.
Natalie has had quite the career with the Knights, going 69-12 (14-3 this season) and has led the team to two SAC championships as a sophomore and junior and an SAC runner-up finish this year.
She has been the team MVP and captain the last two years and was named an All-SAC first-team player.
We’ve always been competitive with each other, but it’s not like I have always been trying to beat my sister, Natalie said of Samantha, an all-state player at Luers who is playing club tennis at Michigan. We help each other out.
Jerry said his daughters have always been good practice partners, mainly without a ton of the sibling rivalry.
He added the sisters and parents frequently hit and do drills with one another but rarely play complete sets or matches.
Obviously tennis has been a big part of our lives, both within and outside our family, Jerry said.
Natalie began competing in tennis about age 8. It was helped by mother Sarah, who was a high school tennis player in Michigan and now teaches youth tennis.
Jerry was a soccer player growing up but began playing tennis later in life.
My mom and dad just started signing me up for lessons and stuff, said Natalie, who will play tennis at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
There were times where I would didn’t want to play when I was little. I wanted to play a different sport, but I always came back to it.
Natalie also was mentored at Wildwood Racquet Club by Sommer Butz and by Mike Andrews.
Jerry has been the co-coach or coach with the Knights for all four years of Natalie’s career.
I have had other coaches, and he just reinforces what they tell me, Natalie said. Overall it is a good thing. It’s good to get someone else’s perspective, especially since my dad knows my game so well.