Ana Maslesa has been under intense pressure the entire week, and most of it hasn’t had anything to do with tennis. Not yet, at least.
In between tennis practice – which sometimes runs twice a day – Maslesa has had to find time to hit the books in preparation for two midterm exams she had yesterday. But that’s something almost all of us have to deal with.
What’s made this week a bit more hectic than usual is that Maslesa will cap off the week by competing in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Eastern Regional (ITA) at the University of Pennsylvania, starting today and running through Tuesday.
Unlike the past few tournaments, where there have been a number of supportive teammates competing alongside her, this isn’t a team event.
Maslesa is in this thing all on her own.
The junior is the team’s top player, having posted a 6-1 record at No. 1 singles this season. First-year coach Traci Green said that with several nagging injuries to the team, Maslesa was the best player capable of going up against top competition in the East Region.
“A lot of those players are ranked high,” Green said. “If she stays calm and plays within herself, she’ll do fine.”
Maslesa did not return phone calls from The Temple News.
The singles finalists and doubles champions will receive berths to the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships Nov. 4-7 at the University of Michigan. Maslesa will face some heady competition if she is to advance that far.
There are seven top seeds, including two each from Harvard and William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth.
Qualifying rounds begin today, and Maslesa is scheduled to play tomorrow, though the pairing won’t be set until later today. And when she does take the court, Maslesa will have a throng of supporters. The entire coaching staff and team will be in attendance to root for Maslesa, Green said.
“This is a big step for her,” Green said. “I think she’s handling this very well and has actually been more focused than usual.”
Chris Silva can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.