Andjela Stojkovic ’17 is one of five sophomores on the Wellesley tennis team who helped create a promising future for Wellesley tennis. The young team won the Seven Sisters Championship last season and came in second in the NEWMAC championship. This season, they have won three of their five matches, and show a lot of promise for the remainder of the season.
Stojkovic won both the singles and doubles sets at last month’s match against Endicott College with the help of her doubles partner, Caroline Hsu ‘18.
Because of her victories at Endicott, she was named the NEWMAC singles player of the week for the last week of August.
Stojkovic grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, where she was one of the top tennis players in her school and her province. The Wellesley News sat down with her after practice to talk about Blue tennis, as well as what shaped her into the tennis player that she is today.
Laura Brindley (L.B.): How old were you when you started playing tennis, and who or what inspired you to play?
Andjela Stojkovic (A.S.): I was eight years old. It was more of a fun activity that my dad, brother and I did. We all started playing and taking lessons together. I grew up playing a bunch of sports, but tennis was the one I enjoyed the most.
L.B.: Why did you decide to play at Wellesley?
A.S.: I really liked Coach Brian [Kuscher], and the way he recruits. He looks at each recruit and determines if she would get along well with the team. The team is his number one concern, and his philosophy is that if the team gets along well, they will play much better. The team seemed very nice and genuine, and that’s the kind of environment that everyone wants to be a part of.
L.B.: What is a typical practice like?
A.S.: Our warm-up is like a small workout in itself; we do some drills in the beginning, then work on consistency, practice serving and work on tactical stuff and strategies. At the end, we will play matches, then stretch and reflect on the practice.
L.B.: What is your pre-match ritual?
A.S.: I like to listen to music. Sometimes Serbian music really helps me get in the zone! I like to have a nice meal beforehand. I don’t like to play on an empty stomach. My pre-match meal usually consists of something like fruit, yogurt and granola. I like to play each match with the same mindset that I do at practice.
L.B.: What has been the best part about playing for Wellesley?
A.S.: The best part about playing for Wellesley is the high energy of the team. Cheering people on comes naturally, and the fact that we all get along so well and are so close makes me want to play for Wellesley.
L.B.: What has been your most memorable match during your time on the team?
A.S.: We played a really close match against Brandeis, and there were still a couple people playing on the court. My match was done, it was a really hot day in March or April, and everyone was working so hard. Seeing the whole team work really hard together was very special, even though we lost. The fight that we put up made it the most memorable match.
L.B.: What are your goals for this season?
A.S.: We have had our eye on the NEWMAC trophy for a while, so one of our biggest goals would be to win NEWMACs and qualify for nationals. We have a lot of depth this year, and we have some good new players. On an individual level, winning NEWMACs would be great, as would qualifying for nationals. Reaching the team goals will help us accomplish our individual goals.
L.B.: Who is your favorite professional tennis player?
A.S.: Probably [Novak] Djokovic because we are from the same motherland, Serbia.
L.B.: What advice would you give to someone just starting to play tennis or hoping to play tennis in the future?
A.S.: The louder you grunt, the better you’ll be!
Blue tennis’s next match is Saturday, Sept. 20 against Clark University at Clark. Wellesley is currently ranked second in NEWMACs and 28th nationally in NCAA Division III.