Tennis can be a tricky sport. Players sometimes play both singles and doubles, which contributes to their overall record. Sometimes a player can win both their singles and doubles matches, but the team can still lose overall.
For K-State junior Petra Niedermayerova, singles victories and records do not mean much to her, even though she has been hearing a lot of buzz about herself recently. After her most recent win on Saturday, Niedermayerova is now fifth in all-time in singles wins at K-State.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to it. When I read something about records and stuff, obviously it’s good to hear it and it makes you feel good for awhile, but it isn’t too important. It just matters much more how I play today, not if I broke a record,” Niedermayerova said.
The junior from Brno, Czech Republic, is currently ranked No. 17 in the country in Division 1 women’s singles and plays in the No. 1 singles spot at K-State, giving her the opportunity to always play the opposing team’s top player.
“It’s always challenging to play someone who is ranked even anywhere on the rankings, because the girls are just so good,” Niedermayerova said. “I love the challenge, I enjoy to compete and obviously if I win, it’s a great feeling.”
K-State coach Steve Bietau is in his 29th season as head tennis coach. He said he has seen Niedermayerova improve in all aspects of the game since she has been at K-State.
“She’s gotten in better shape, stronger, faster. She was pretty tough mentally when she started. Her game has changed pretty dramatically,” Bietau said. “She takes the ball a lot earlier now, she serves more offensively, her forehand is bigger and more of a threat. She’s always had a great backhand. She’s developed into a great doubles player. But mentally her game was pretty good when she got here.”
No matter the age, the best athletes on a team are often some of the best leaders on the team, and Bietau has seen this from Nierdermayerova since she started playing at K-State.
“She is one of the best players in college tennis and she is on the court with [her teammates] every day in practice. Over the course of those three years she learned to be a better doubles player, but whoever we put with her in doubles normally played better too," Bietau said. "I think that’s a really good example of the effect that she can have on the rest of the team.”
Niedermayerova holds a season record of 17-5 and a career record of 65-28, which leaves her two wins shy of a tie for fourth on K-State’s all-time list. She needs 14 wins to tie for first and 15 wins to hold the all-time school record.
As well as being the all-time record holder, she can also become the first player in school history to win 20-plus matches in all four seasons, but for her, it is all about the team right now.
“Right now the team season is starting, and so we have some matches out of the [Big 12], but then we will come to the [Big 12] and I think that those are the most important ones,” Niedermayerova said. “Generally I just want to win as many matches as a team as we can possibly do and play our best.”