Luzina making a statement as a tennis team player

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John Freitag

 Junior tennis player Elizaveta Luzina prepares to serve during the WSU Invitational, Friday, Oct. 4.

Growing up, Elizaveta Luzina had the potential to excel in tennis, skiing and ballet. However, it was tennis that took Luzina from Russia to the Palouse.

“First day here was pretty interesting. I flew to Lewiston; I’ve never seen such a small airport in my life,” Luzina said. “It was way different from where I grew up; it was a really small city.”

Luzina, now a junior, has proven herself as an addition to the WSU women’s tennis team. She finished first in Flight One Singles draw and in the Flight One Doubles bracket with sophomore Lize Leenknecht in the 2013 Cougar Classic.

Luzina has also made a couple appearances in the ITA Northwest Regionals in Stanford, Calif.

“I love everything about it (tennis); I’ve been playing it for 15 years now and it’s a great sport,” Luzina said. “Tennis is not an individual sport because you usually play against your friend, but here I have teammates now and a team that I have to compete for.”

Ekaterina Burduli, WSU tennis assistant coach, recruited Luzina after recruiting senior Olga Musilovich the year before.

“There was a recruiting visit with Eka (Burduli), who was there to see Olga. She took Olga with her that summer and said that she would come next year,” Luzina said.

Since playing for WSU, Luzina has traveled across the country to places like Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas.  

She was shocked to come to WSU and see the high level of competition in college tennis. Coming from playing professional tennis, she enjoyed the fact there wasn’t a drop off in terms of skill.

Luzina’s favorite tennis player is Maria Sharapova, Russia’s top female tennis player and the No. 3 female tennis player in the world as of Oct. 7, 2013.

“I really like watching her (Sharapova), sometimes when I have an important match I would watch her on YouTube the night before,” Luzina said. ”I like the way she plays and how she is passionate about tennis.”

None of the athletes on the women’s tennis team are from the United States, and they all speak English as a second language. however, this doesn’t stop the team from competing at their highest level.

“I have great teammates, I have a lot of friends that play at different universities across the U.S. and they tell me that they have terrible teammates and terrible coaches, but here I love every single person on my team and my coaches,” Luzina said. “I’m really lucky to be here.”

For people who can’t decide whether to watch a tennis match or not, Luzina has a couple reasons for coming out.

“We have pretty nice outfits; my friends say we look great,” Luzina said. “It’s also graceful, tennis. It’s interesting to watch. I convinced all my friends to play tennis and when they played they liked it.”