Novakova produces immediate results for BUNov. 5, 2010
|On the Men's Side|
Senior John Peers has advanced to the second round of the ITA Indoor Championships after beating Sven Vloedgraven of Binghamton, 6-1, 6-4. Peers was the first alternate when he was called to take the place of Virginia's Michael Shabaz in the 32-man singles draw.
By Krista Pirtle
Inside the locker room, Rihanna is blaring from the speakers. That can only mean one thing; Sona Novakova is getting ready to play.
Novakova, a junior from Brno, Czech Republic, started playing tennis when she was young.
"My dad is the tennis coach, so he was my coach for 14 years. So it was all about tennis in our family. My mom was always traveling with me to tournaments," Novakova said.
With so much attention on her tennis game, it is no wonder she has had such great success. In 2003, she helped her team win the U-14 World Junior Team Championship by winning the singles and doubles. In 2005, she won the doubles senior national title and two years later she was ranked No. 2 in the Czech Republic. That year she also won the $10,000 International Tennis Federation women's tournament in 2007.
When it was time to choose a college, Novakova wanted to go to Fresno State, but she did not qualify for NCAA eligibility because she fell short in school credits. She settled on Armstrong Atlantic State University. During her two-year stay at the Savannah, Ga., school, Novakova went 59-5.
"Once she was at Armstrong and she was there for a year, she realized that she was a little too strong for Division II tennis and decided she wanted to play at the next level. That's when she got in touch with us and said she wanted to transfer, and the rest is history," head coach Joey Scrivano said.
Even though Novakova has not been in Waco for very long, she says she already loves it at Baylor.
Between tennis and classes, which include religion, British literature and human behavior, she makes the most of down time.
"During my spare time, I hang out with teammates. We just hang out in an apartment; we don't have a car on the team. None of us have a car," Novakova said.
Her teammates and coaches have enjoyed her presence here this fall.
"It's been pretty great. She's really coachable, and she's really enjoyable to play with. I'm never afraid of how she's going to play because I know she's going to try all the time. It's pretty fun. We always have a chance to win," said her doubles partner, junior Nina Secerbegovic.
"She's without a doubt one of the most coachable players that's ever been in our program. She will do anything we ask her to do. She just has a great attitude, we just love players that are coachable and she's coachable. I really have nothing negative to say about the kid; She's been amazing," he said.
She has proven herself during the fall season. At the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regionals in Waco last week, Novakova took home both the singles title and the doubles title, with Secerbegovic. She also earned a spot in the National Indoors that is held in New York.
"The national indoor championships is one of the three collegiate grand slams. It's one of the biggest events," Scrivano said. "What makes it so unique is it's only the 32 best players [who] can earn a spot in the tournament, so it's a very competitive event. It says a lot when you can earn a spot in that tournament."