Tennis team represents diversity, camaraderie on campus

(Patrick) #1

Tennis team represents diversity, camaraderie on campus

Six countries are represented between the team’s seven players and head coach. They speak many languages, and one player, freshman Sophie Gerits, is fluent in five.

Despite so many cultural and language barriers, the team is still having a great season and is hoping to take a four-match win streak into the American Athletic Conference Tournament. Head coach Helena Besovic, a native of Bosnia, has taken the lead role in making sure the team meshes.

Besovic has a team policy that when the team is together, the players speak English. For some of the international players, this policy was a difficult change. But through a patient demeanor and openness to understand their cultural differences, even the players who most recently started speaking English feel comfortable communicating.

“With the international players, at the beginning it’s not easy because sometimes they’re self-conscious about speaking English,” Besovic said. “Some of them, it takes some time to adjust. Once they feel comfortable, they can be themselves. I think the key is to make everyone feel comfortable.”