Ninth-ranked Senior Diana Nakic became BU's fifth top-10 player since 2006.
In a program that has won seven consecutive Big 12 titles and been to the NCAA Final Four in two of the last four seasons, it's been the player development by 10th-year head coach Joey Scrivano that has bolstered the program. More proof came Tuesday with the release of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, which has senior Diana Nakicranked No. 9 to become Scrivano's fifth top-10 player.
Nakic's latest accolade puts her in a group that features NCAA Singles Champion Zuzana Zemenova, Baylor all-time wins leader Lenka Broosova, All-American Zuzana Cerna and current teammate and two-time All-American Nina Secerbegovic. During their careers, Zemenova reached as high as No. 3, Broosova ranked No. 5, Cerna as high as No. 9 and Secerbegovic reached No. 10 last season. Current senior Sona Novakova nearly added to Baylor's list of top-10 players, reaching No. 11 three different weeks last season.
Nakic, however, just keeps improving under Scrivano's program. After earning all-NCAA doubles honors with partner Sona Novakova in 2011 and finishing the season 30-7 in singles and 24-10 in doubles, she has been even better this year. In the fall, Nakic breezed through six consecutive matches to claim the ITA Texas Regional singles title with straight-set wins over No. 10 Marta Lesniak of SMU and No. 24 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar of Texa A&M. Since, Nakic has improved her win total to a team-leading 21-7, including a total of eight wins over ranked opponents with seven coming against the top 60.
Playing primarily in the No. 1 spot in the lineup, Nakic leads a group that also features two more ranked seniors in No. 32 Secerbegovic and No. 47 Novakova. Secerbegovic and freshman Megan Horter are also ranked in doubles, checking in at No. 46.
Former Baylor all-Big 12 and all-NCAA tennis player Jelena Stanivuk might be finished with her collegiate career, but that hasn't stopped her from keep her game sharp. Stanivuk, who has been busy this fall and early spring serving as the student assistant for the Lady Bears, was recently chosen by her native country to play in the Fed Cup.
A native of Bosnia/Herzegovina, Stanivuk will join four of her countrymates starting Wednesday for the Europe/Africa Group I play as part of the ITF's Fed Cup in Eilat, Israel. Bosnia/Herzegovina is one of 15 nations in the group that is split into four pools.
Stanivuk and her teammates Jasmina Tinjic, Mervana Jugic Salkic, Anita Husaric and Sanja Kovac are pooled with Sweden, Hungary and Greece. Each pool will play a round robin on Feb. 1-3, followed by the winners of the four pools (A vs. C, B vs. D) facing off on Feb. 4 for a spot in the World Group II playoffs on April 21-22.
"It is extremely rewarding for us to see a player like Jelena get rewarded by her country for so much hard work and improvement in her game," Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano said. "She is proof that playing collegiate tennis is a great way to get to the pro tour. She was able to develop her game into that style while at Baylor. We are so proud of her to be in a position for her country to recognize her talent."
Stanivuk will have a chance to face some of the best players in the world, including two top-75 singles players on the Swedish squad alone. Stanivuk will play both singles and doubles for Bosnia/Herzegovina. The tournament also features two top-40 players from the host nation, Israel, including No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 37 Shahar Peer.
Stanivuk was a standout player for Baylor, earning all-Big 12 singles and doubles honors, as well as all-NCAA Tournament honors during Baylor's Final Four run in 2011. She was 26-2 in singles play and ranked No. 62 in the NCAA at the close of last season.