Klara Supejova has traveled more than 4,000 miles and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to play tennis for Eastern Michigan University.
Supejova is a Czech Republic native, hailing from Prague, but is finishing her freshman year at EMU.
Before her time at EMU, Supejova started playing tennis at age six, around the same time her older brother did. Her parents wanted the two to get active and involved in sports.
“If I didn’t [like it], they wouldn’t have pushed me,” Supejova said.
Her dad used to play soccer and ran, which fueled Supejova’s interest in sports.
Even though her experience has years behind it, Supejova said she only recently developed her skill.
“I was kind of average until about three years ago,” Supejova said.
Before she played in a team setting, Supejova competed individually. She would sign up for tournaments by herself and went with her dad.
She spent her weeks practicing tennis, as well as running a few times a week. Some of her best results emerged around a year before she came to EMU.
In 2010 she finished second in doubles at the National Indoor Junior Championship and third in the National Summer Junior Championships. Supejova said that is why EMU coach Ryan Ray recruited her.
EMU wasn’t her first or only choice for schools in the U.S. Supejova was recruited by a university in Minnesota but was notified by the coach that they gave the spot to a different tennis player.
“I remember I was a little bit mad and sad about it,” Supejova said. “I said yes to the first offer, and that was Eastern.”
Supejova was already well into the paperwork process to go to school in a different country, but when she was offered a spot by EMU, she gladly took it. The coach of the Minnesota school was
able to talk to other coaches and help her earn a spot with a team.
“I think all coaches are like friends, or at least know each other,” Supejova said.
The training program at EMU began much different than what she was used to. Back home, she was able to schedule her own practices. The tennis program at EMU also includes weight lifting, which Supejova found “painful in the beginning.”
Supejova said she appreciates having her team to support her.
“I like the team part,” Supejova said. “It’s a really big thing to be here as a team.”
She also said she likes being able to play tennis and study. He brother goes to school back home but his tennis playing has slowed down, which is something Supejova did not want to happen to her.
If anything, her practice has increased. She spends a lot more time training for tennis or even spending time with her teammates.
Supejova has also become a key member of the team. Her win against University of Akron’s Angelina Jogasuria on Saturday marked her 26th victory of the season, which is the most victories by an Eagle since 2007, when Vanessa Frankowski went 29-6.
When Supejova goes home in a couple of weeks, she will be able to say she has had a decent amount of accomplishments during her first year of collegiate tennis.