By Steven Melendez/Staff Writer
This upcoming year for the FIU tennis team will feature an experienced and extremely talented roster. The roster consists of five upperclassmen including senior Mina Markovic, who is primed to be a cornerstone for the team.
Markovic spent the early parts of her college tennis career at the University of Houston before transferring to FIU for the 2016-17.
Last season, she played a huge part in the Panthers success, as she went 18-5 in singles matches and 19-8 in doubles, displaying her versatility.
Markovic talked about her role on the team this upcoming season and also how she hopes to end her FIU career on a high note.
“As a senior, I feel more responsibility to lead the team and to be a leader,” said Markovic. “I would definitely like to have my best season so far and to leave some legacy here at FIU.”
The FIU tennis team had on of their most successful season last year, finishing with a (21-2) record. Unfortunately, the team was unable to add a conference title to their list of accomplishments, after losing to no. 1-seeded Rice in the 2017 C-USA Championship Final.
Markovic talked about how much motivation that defeat brings coming in to the new season.
“So much. I was really scared that the loss would influence me in a bad way, but I feel that after talking to the team and talking to the coaches we are super motivated,” said Markovic. “We really want to win that conference, especially since it’s my senior year we want to leave something big here.”
Along with the experienced upperclassmen, FIU is also getting two new players added to the roster. The addition of Paulina Bakaite and Sandra Bozinovic will increase the overall talent on the roster, as both have had proven success in the ITF World Junior league.
Markovic had the fourth most wins on the roster last season and showed the ability to play in both singles and doubles matches.
Markovic talked about her game and what she’s improved on most since joining FIU.
“I’m definitely an aggressive player. I used to be even more aggressive then I am now, and coach took care of that part,” said Markovic. “I know now how to control the ball, and when to hit and not to hit. Now I feel more confident keeping the ball in play and not just hitting the winner after two or three balls.”
All the signs are pointing towards FIU one upping their historic 2016-17 season with an even better 2017-18 season. Markovic agreed and talked about the expectations for this talented group.
“I think we can do something big this season. We have a lot of experienced players,” said Markovic. “I believe that since most of us are experienced, it’s going to be much easier for her (coach Petrovic) to fit everyone in.”
The FIU tennis spring season is a little more than a month away with their first match of the regular season coming up against the Kansas State Wildcats on Jan. 21 at 1:00 p.m. at the FIU Tennis Courts.