Match made in tennis heaven
Nebraska's top duo rises up while having fun on the court
Coming back from missing a season in collegiate tennis is no easy feat, especially when your team is ranked in the top 25. Nebraska doubles partners Mary Weatherholt and Patricia Veresova did just that during their junior year and were ranked No. 3 nationally, the highest doubles ranking by the Huskers.
Rather than struggling on the court getting used to each other, Weatherholt and Veresova played off each other’s strengths to become a dynamic pair, despite Weatherholt being injured during her sophomore season and taking a medical redshirt and Veresova sitting out for a year.
“Playing with Patty is great; we balance each other out. I’m very intense and she is pretty chill," Weatherholt said. "She doesn’t get mad at me if I don’t hit a shot, which I feel sometimes happens on other teams. Off the court, we all learn from each other and can laugh at each other when we mess up.”
The pair became a force to be reckoned with as the season went on, ending the regular season with a 20-2 record.
“I think the more we played the more we got used to each other and [the other person’s] techniques. The more we played together the better we got,” Veresova said.
Despite their high rank, Veresova and Weatherholt didn’t start pairing up for competition until the spring of 2011. Coming from vastly different backgrounds -- Weatherholt hails from Kansas and Veresova was raised in Slovakia -- both girls brought something new to the court, whether it was Veresova’s calm nature or Weatherholt’s positive reinforcement.
“On [Nebraska’s team], you can definitely learn from anyone. Mary is always very positive and that transfers and helps me play better and to be more focused. Getting to know all of my teammates was a great experience,” Veresova said.
Be it on the court or off, special bonds have been formed.
“We have a lot of fun. We just goof around with each other," Weatherholt said. "We share a Twitter account with another teammate and we tweet out weird and goofy things for fun. We focus on making [tennis] fun and it helps us play better with each other and for the team.”
Weatherholt’s expertise with the racket does not just limit her to the doubles court. Ranked No. 11 in singles play going into the NCAA tournament, she earned the No. 3 seed in singles for the individual rounds. However, doubles play with Veresova has aided Weatherholt in perfecting her solo time on the court.
“Doubles is more fun to me. I am better with my volleys [in singles] because of playing doubles. I think it all transfers over,” Weatherholt said.
One thing Weatherholt and Veresova knew was they wanted to make Nebraska’s campus their home during their college years.
“When I was looking at schools, I took an unofficial visit to Nebraska and I fell in love with it. [Nebraska] has great coaches and great girls, so I officially signed on pretty early,” Weatherholt said.
Veresova agreed with her partner’s sentiment. “I didn’t want to stop playing tennis and I wanted to get an education and coming to the United States was a huge opportunity. So I chose [Nebraska],” she said.
Once the chaos of individual and doubles ends, Veresova and Weatherholt will focus on their education. Veresova will be earning her diploma in December with a degree in business administration. Weatherholt just graduated with a degree in business administration and will start graduate school in the fall.