Q & A with one of the best players in the Big 12
While most college athletes take time to adjust to a new environment, a new level of competition and increased expectations, CU women’s tennis standout Monica Milewski has wasted no time in making herself one of the best tennis players in the Big 12.
Milewski, a sophomore from Park Ridge, Ill., was named ITA/Central Region Rookie of the year following her freshman season. She won 18 matches while playing number two in singles. This fall, Milewski became CU’s first women’s tennis player in 15 years to advance to an individual national singles main draw tournament after knocking off two nationally-ranked opponents at the ITA Women’s All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Milewski recently sat down with The Campus Press to talk about the fast start to her young career.
The Campus Press: Monica, you were the 2005 Illinois State Champ and Midwest Section Player of the Year your senior year in high school. How do you think your successful high school career helped you prepare for the increased level of competition in the college game?
Milewski: I think it gave me the experience to play at a higher level that I was going to see here in college. It prepared me in a lot of ways for the challenges better competition brings.
CP: Are you surprised at all at how well you have made the transition to college play?
Milewski: I’m not really that surprised because coming in I didn’t feel that much pressure. I knew that I was going to be the underdog in a lot of situations so it kind of helped me stay relaxed and when I’m relaxed I perform a lot better. I was really surprised that I made it into the All-American’s last weekend. That was a huge shock for me but otherwise some of the other accomplishments weren’t that surprising.
CP: Coming out of high school, what were the top three schools you were looking at and what made you choose CU?
Milewski: It came down to the University of Missouri, Boston University and (CU). I went on all my visits and I really liked the team here. I had a lot of fun with the girls here and really clicked with them. (Nicole Kenneally) is a great coach and I really got a good vibe from her compared to some of the other places I visited. I thought that was a lot more important than maybe a top team in the country.
CP: How much has Coach Kenneally helped your game?
Milewski: She’s helped a lot. She’s really understanding and she is always really open. I know if I have a problem I can always go to her and (she) is so helpful. I know if I need a break or am really burnt out, she is always understanding about that. A lot of other college coaches wouldn’t be like that.
CP: For people who don’t know, tennis has a fall and a spring season. How do you think playing two seasons changes your preparation for the upcoming year versus say a basketball or football player who only has to prepare for one season?
Milewski: I think it makes us stronger. I think it gives us more stamina and we’re prepared for the longer, tougher matches.
CP: You’ve already been named CU Student Athlete of the Week twice. What are your goals for the rest of this season and beyond?
Milewski: Well, for the rest of the season I am hoping as a team we make it into the NCAA’s. For an individual goal, I would really like to make it into the qualifiers for the All-Americans again next year. I think that was an amazing experience and I would love to go back.
CP: On the personal side, you speak Polish. How did that come to be your second language?
Milewski: Well, that was actually my first language. My parents are both from Poland and they came here in their 20’s so that is what they started speaking to me and my brother and then we learned English.
CP: When you aren’t playing tennis what do you do for fun?
Milewski: I hang out with my friends and go shopping a lot.