Tennis international players bring flavor and fun

Featured Image: Junior Felix Bevc (left ) and teammate freshman
Alen Curovic (right) confer during match. Grace McGhee | Courtesy

VWU’s tennis program has a long history of success in the ODAC. For example, the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams have won multiple ODAC championships and have sent players to compete in the NCAA Division III national championships. 

The teams play their home matches at the university’s Everett Tennis Center courts. So far this season, the men’s team has a current record of 6-4 overall and the women’s team has a current record of 4-6.

The men’s and women’s teams both have a mixture of players from the United States as well as international players. 

Alen Curovic is a freshman who came to VWU from Sweden. Curovic began playing tennis in Sweden at eight years old and says that his favorite part of playing the sport is the sense of control that he has as an individual player. 

One major difference he notices between the U.S. and Sweden is that the tennis matches and leagues are connected directly to the schools, while overseas they are connected to clubs that schedule tournaments throughout the year. 

He appreciates playing because it gives him the opportunity to travel to different countries. “Right now, I am focused on school, but if I did get a chance to go pro, I would,” Curovic said.

Assistant Coach and Lecturer in Political Science, James Moskowitz, said these international players “bring a lot of flavor to campus” and have “a big presence in the classroom.” 

Moskowitz explained that this team plays on a special level and that he is proud of our team, especially when other Division III teams ask if this team is Division I. He also said that the current team is actually made up primarily of “international guys” from Sweden, Poland and Germany, and even some of the American guys have international backgrounds. 

“We have a good group of guys and everybody adds some texture,” Moskowitz said. For an average American student, playing on this team would be like a “study abroad program.”

Moskowitz used to be a French teacher. He played tennis in college and traveled to France, where he met his wife, Dr. Antje Schwennicke, dean of the Birdsong School of Social Science and associate professor of Political Science, who is from Germany. 

He said that this background helps him talk with some of the players and he knows some of their slang, which can be entertaining. The team has a good time using different languages such as French at times, even though no one on the team speaks French fluently. 

Moskowitz plans to continue coaching and come back next year. He is the assistant coach for both the women’s team and men’s team, and anticipates two new international women next year. 

Moskowitz enjoys the recruiting aspect, especially since the level of tennis coaching that these players have experienced overseas is very high. He also expressed his admiration for Head Coach Toni Bickford, who he said, “has a resume that does not belong in Division III.” Like himself, he said that Bickford is at VWU for the location and that our university is lucky to have her. 

In addition, Moskowitz believes that VWU will see more and more international players because this school is “a great comfort zone.” 

The men’s next home match is April 19 at 1 p.m. where they will play Randolph College at the Everett Tennis Center. The women’s next home match is April 22 at 1 p.m. where they will play Randolph-Macon College at the Everett Tennis Center. The men’s team will also play. 

By Kamal Womack