Sept. 28, 2007
Northwest Spotlight: Kristina Vucenov
This week's spotlight is on tennis player Kristina Vucenov, a senior from Novi Sad, Serbia.
Vucenov won the ITA North Central Regional Championships on Sunday, Sept. 23. She now advances to the ITA National Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala., Oct. 11-14. Vucenov won six matches, all in straight sets, and only dropped 15 games the entire tournament.
Spotlight caught up with Vucenov earlier today:
NS: Coming from Serbia, what was the most surprising thing about the U.S.?
KV: Everything was very surprising, especially the culture, people and of course the food. When I first came here I couldn't eat for a whole month because there is fast food everywhere. Also the people here are very friendly. I walk down the street everyday and people I don't know say hi to me. It is very different in Serbia.
NS: What is your favorite food here?
KV: I do not like fast food. I try to cook most of the time, but I do go to the union. I really like Italian food, so if I go out to a restaurant I usually order some pasta.
NS: What has been the biggest adjustment coming to the U.S.?
KV: In Serbia people go everyday to the store to buy what they need like milk and bread. Here people go to Wal-Mart once a week and buy everything. It's completely different and I was very surprised.
NS: What do you miss most about Serbia?
KV: I miss my family the most. I also miss my really close friends. When you go to school with them for 15 years and then you leave, it's very hard. I just really miss my family and friends a lot.
NS: How is life different over here compared to Serbia?
KV: Here it is so stressful. Everyone works from like 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then goes home to see their family. In Serbia you can go downtown and look in a coffee shop and see people just sitting and talking. It is just a lot more relaxing back home.
NS: Who taught you how to play tennis and how old were you?
KV: I started when I was six years old down the street at a tennis school. Then around seven I started to play for the Navi Sad club team which was a lot of fun.
NS: Would you rather play singles or doubles in tennis?
KV: I would rather play singles. Before I came here I never played doubles. People back home only played singles so I am just now learning how to play doubles.
NS: What does it mean to you to win ITA's Regional Championship?
KV: For the past three years I've played in the ITA's tournament, but never won. It meant a lot to win. Almost everyday someone comes up to me and tells me congratulations about winning. It is just very different to be on top.
NS: With winning in such a dominating fashion what does that mean for you going into the ITA Championship?
KV: The girls who make it to that tournament will know how to play tennis really well. I'm going to go there and give it my best shot.
NS: What is the hardest thing to do in tennis?
KV: You need to stay in shape to play so I would say that conditioning is the hardest. You also need to be mentally tough because everyone at this level knows how to hit so you need to be mentally strong to win.
NS: Who do you think you model your game after in pro tennis?
KV: I like to watch Martina Hingis play. She flies on the court and can feel every ball she hits, it is amazing.
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