ITA Player Profile: Emika Bektas and Brooke Bolender, Michigan
The Michigan doubles team of junior Emika Bektas and senior Brooke Bolender took time during the 2014 ITA Division I Women’s Team Indoor Championship to talk about their lives on and off the tennis court.
How did you end up at Michigan?
Bolender: I didn’t really have a strong connection with any school in particular, but I started talking to Roni and Teryn and really just loved them. Then I met the girls and it was just a really special program that I really wanted to be a part of. It was really a pretty easy decision for me.
Bektas: I didn’t really have any ties either, and I had a couple visit, and I ended up coming back to Michigan. I remember driving in from the airport I actually forgot how much I missed the Midwest because I’d been living in Texas for three years. I obviously really liked Roni and Teryn and I remember meeting the girls and it felt like family. I ended up comiting the day after because I knew that’s where I wanted to be.
How old were you when you first started playing tennis?
Bolender: I was seven and a half. My mom started playing but no one in my family had played before that.
Bektas: I was actually born in Frankfurt, Germany. And for some reason I had a tennis racket and a tennis ball at my apartment. I don’t remember why. I would always hit it around the apartment. Then I moved to the States my friends asked me to name a sport I wanted to play, and I said ‘tennis for sure.’
If you could play tennis against any other player throughout history, who would it be?
Bektas: Steffi Graf and Boris Becker were always my favorite players. When I was growing up my dad would go to the library and get old tapes of players and I always wanted to watch Steffi Graf.
Bolender: Mine would be Kim Clijsters for sure. I loved her – it was tragic when she retired.
What's your favorite shot on court?
Bektas: Definitely would have to be my serve. I don’t know what I’d do without my serve. When it goes away I get really sad. I need my serve.
Bolender: My forehand. I really enjoy serving and volleying too.
Favorite song on your iPod right now?
Bektas: Miss Jackson by Panic at the Disco.
Bolender: All of My by John Legend
How do you prepare for a big match?
Bektas: We just relax with our team. We have music on at our facilities beforehand and that gets us pumped up. We’re pretty chilled though.
Bolender: We have the same format so no match feels any different, which kind of helps.
If you weren’t playing college tennis what extra circular activities do you think you’d spend your time doing?
Bektas: Probably a TV critic with the amount of TV shows I watch. It’s a little ridiculous. My favorite is Scandal.
Bolender: I’m really into kids so I’d probably be volunteering at a school or something.
When I'm off the court you will find me...
Bolender: Probably in my apartment. We all live in the same building so Id’ probably be with my team, wherever they are.
The last time I screamed at the TV was...
Bektas: The last Colts game. I’m a very big Colts fan and they lost to the Patriots. I hate the Patriots, so here was a lot coming out of my month then.
Bolender: I’d probably say a football game, or watching Nashville.
What’s something you need to stop eating?
Bolender: Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Shortcake frozen yogurt.
Bektas: Chocolate. I have a bad addiction.
What’s been your favorite moment at the Team Indoors?
Bolender: When we won against Virginia last year at 1:30 in the morning. We struggled through some doubles points and finally got one.
Bektas: It was a really close match, and playing them at home.
Bolender: It was so late and it had been built up all day. But we got through it.