By Taegan Whiteley
On Friday, Sept. 30 the Washington State University tennis team hosted their annual “Play with a Cougar” event. Members of the Pullman community and tennis fans were invited to join the team in an evening of fun festivities, including competitions and one-on-one instruction.
WSU Hall of Famer Rex Davis made an appearance at the event and was recognized for his outstanding work during his coaching career. Davis coached both gymnastics and tennis from 1966 to 1994. What was interesting about talking to Davis was him telling me how he learned how to play tennis.
While stationed in Korea, Davis was an assistant at the gym (tennis courts had been built for the commanding general) where the man who was in charge of the gym taught Davis how to play. After leaving the Army, Davis would go on to teach gymnastics and tennis for the next 11 seasons, eventually ending up at WSU to coach.
After catching up with Davis and two of his old players, I got the chance to talk to Lisa Hart, who is now entering her 13th season as the Washington State head women’s tennis coach. Hart is extremely confident with her team this year, especially having three returners.
“Aneta Miksovska, Victoria Matejevic and Barbora Michalkova have been doing a really great job at stepping up and being leaders for the younger girls,” she said. With their official season around the corner, the girls have been playing in tournaments around the country, and as Hart said, “developing their game so that the girls are ready to go by January.”
Sophomore Team Captain Miksovska was born and raised in Stramberk, Czech Republic and has been playing tennis since the age of just five years old. Miksovska had spent the past few years playing on the International Tennis Federation circuit, where in 2015 she reached quarterfinals of the tournament in Trnava, Slovakia. At first, Miksovska found being far away from home hard, but she soon adjusted.
“I got to know my teammates and coaches, and it became a little easier knowing that we all came from far away,” Miksovska said. “But I love it here and I am very happy here.”
For the next couple weeks, the girls will stay here in Pullman, developing their game and skills as they prepare for the ITA Regional Tournament hosted by Stanford University from October 21-24, where more than 8,000 of the country’s top men and women’s players from around the country will gather to compete.