Senior Sylvia Kosakowski (
Q: What classes are you taking this semester?
A: “I’m taking one education class, an upper-division English class and two psychology classes, and so far they’re going pretty well. I love my sensation perception psychology class. We’ve been learning about the five senses in our bodies, and we just learned about the eye and there’s been so much to learn about the eye.”
Q: With this being your senior year, what are your plans after graduation?
A: “I know at some point in my life I want to be a teacher, but I don’t know if it’s right after I graduate, and I’d also like to be an assistant tennis coach. I have so many ideas, so I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do. I’d like to go to grad school for psychology too, so we’ll see.”
Q: You were the first in your family born in the
A: “My mom had a sister who moved here, and my parents were living in
Q: Have you been to visit
A: “I went once when I was five, and I remember a little bit. Every summer since I’ve graduated from high school, my dad wants to take me, but I’ve always been here for summer camps, so I haven’t been able to go. Hopefully this summer I’ll go as my graduation gift.”
Q: What was that like growing up in the
A: “It was nice, because I was able to see two different cultures, and I wasn’t raised just as an American. It’s funny because a lot of the girls on our team last year were from Eastern Europe, and they thought of me as a European even though I was born and raised here.”
Q: How did you start playing tennis?
A: “It was kind of an accident, actually. My older brother got into an accident going to the laundry room. He fell down and hit his head and he felt dizzy, and it turned out he had a blood clot, so he had to have brain surgery. My parents didn’t want him to play any contact sports, so he started playing tennis. I was actually in ballet at the time, and I just followed him, so that’s how I got into it. My parents had never played, and my dad got into tennis after that, and it became a family sport. I was only five at the time and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Q: When did you decide you wanted to pursue tennis collegiately?
A: “When I was younger, I played just for fun, but then my dad got really serious, and we were kind of forced to play more. When I was about 12, I was never planning on going to college, I was planning on going pro, because I had coaches telling me I could win the French Open at 16. Then I got burned out at 14 and I quit for a year. I just didn’t want to play anymore and I was sick of it. I didn’t have a childhood life, it was just school and tennis and that’s it. Then I got back into it because I wanted to go to college and I started playing a lot again.”
Q: After you decided you wanted to come to college, why did you choose Pepperdine over other schools?
A: “I remember I first came to Pepperdine to see my older brother play tennis here when he played for UC Santa Barbara, and I just loved the campus. Then when it was my senior year and I went on my five recruiting trips, I came to Pepperdine last because I knew I wanted to go here. Coach (Escudero) really wanted me to come here. Having someone want you that bad makes you feel good.”
Q: How do you feel you’ve grown as a person and a player since coming to Pepperdine?
A: “I’m a lot more independent now, because you have to be when you go to college. Tennis-wise, Gual might not think so, but I think I’ve improved my attitude on the court a lot. I think that has improved because I’m on a team now. If it was just me, I’d still get upset easily, but because I’m on a team I know that I’m not just playing for myself and that helps me stay focused.”
Q: What do you think of this year’s team?
A: “I’m really excited about this year because I feel like everybody clicks. I think we’re a lot better than we’ve ever been since I’ve been here, and I really hope that we can get to the Sweet 16 as a team, because we’ve never gotten past the round of 32 since I’ve been here. I think we can do it.”
Q: What was it like being named an All-American last year in doubles with your teammate Bianca Dulgheru?
A: “We knew that all we had to was get to the quarterfinals of the NCAAs to be All-Americans, and we barely got into the tournament to begin with. All we wanted to do was become All-Americans. The match before the quarterfinals was so tough, it went back and forth, then when we won we were so excited, and we were jumping up and down because we knew we were All-Americans. I don’t really feel any different now, but people look at me differently because I have that title.”
Q: What is it about your style of play that meshes well with each other?
A: “I think she’s very consistent on the court, and she hits the ball hard. We just work well together. She’s just very consistent in everything, and that helps me. If I had to play with someone like me, we’d be missing balls, and we’d have to be on every single day to win.”
Q: Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to?
A: “I went to