Michalkova leading Cougar tennis team

Czech Republic native is sole senior on WSU tennis team


Abby Linnenkohl | The Daily Evergreen

Senior Barbora Michalkova practices doubles on Jan. 9 in the Hollingberry Fieldhouse.

TYLER SHUEY, Evergreen columnist

On a WSU tennis team that is made up entirely of European players, Barbora Michalkova leads the way as the lone senior this season.

Michalkova hails from As, Czech Republic. Growing up, she ranked in the top 100 in Germany for under-21, and reached 75 in the European Tennis Rankings during her junior career.

The senior said she picked up a tennis racket at around 9 years old, after she saw it on TV. She said tennis is very popular in Europe, and when she was 16 or 17 years old, she started to realize that college tennis could become a reality for her.

During Michalkova’s sophomore season, she posted a 20-24 singles record and 24-10 record in doubles. Michalkova played the majority of her junior season as the No. 1 singles player on the team, posting a 12-25 singles record and a 16-14 doubles record.

Over the past year or so, Michalkova has taken on a veteran status to help the younger players coming up on the team. She cites hard work and respecting other players as values she tries to instill in her teammates.

Michalkova takes pride in having an all-European team.

“We treat each other like sisters,” Michalkova said. “It’s amazing. You can learn a lot from different cultures.”

WSU Tennis Head Coach Lisa Hart said the progression of Michalkova’s game since her freshman year has made her into a special player.

“She can truly beat anybody on the right day,” Hart said.

Standing at six feet tall, one of Michalkova’s biggest advantages on the court is her height.

“If you’re strong, it can be very beneficial,” she said. “You can hit balls harder.”

As Michalkov’s tennis career at WSU winds down, she has nothing but praise for the coaching staff that helped her develop her game.

“I have huge respect for them,” Michalkova said. “If I have an issue, I can go to them.”

With the final stretch of matches coming up for Michalkova, Hart wants the senior to take her farewell tour in stride.

“I just want her to be the best version of herself,” Hart said. “All the pieces are there for her.”

In terms of goals for the rest of the season, Michalkova is striving to push this team as far as they can go.

“I want to help the team get to the [NCAA] Tournament,” she said, “and enjoy the last moments on the tennis court with my team.”