The Miami Hurricanes have a new sheriff in town.
Megan Bradley, a transfer from UCLA, came to UM before the fall 2002 season and has since taken over the No.1 women’s singles spot, giving the defending Big East champions a huge addition for their run at a national title.
Bradley, who has played since she was six years old, decided to transfer to University of Miami, primarily due to her great relationship with UM Coach Page Yaroshuk.
“I understand her and what makes her tick,” Yaroshuk said. “I understand why she is a perfectionist and where she wants to go with her game.”
However, not everything has gone according to plan for Bradley. The sophomore underwent shoulder surgery in May, and has spent the last eight months trying to get ready for the first match. Last night, she proved she was ready with a straight set victory (6-2, 6-3) in No.1 singles.
“I’m obviously not playing as well as I was before surgery, but I’m trying to get there and getting more comfortable,” Bradley said.
According to Yaroshuk, Bradley’s work ethic and her business like attitude has been the main factor in triggering her quick recovery
“She has attacked her physical therapy,” Yaroshuk said. “Any athlete going through something like this should learn from her. If you attack your therapy, this is the outcome. Her shoulder is probably stronger now than it was prior to her surgery in May.”
Along with surgery, Bradley was also forced to deal with the difficulties of transferring to a new school and making new friends. In addition, Bradley has to get used to living in South Florida. In this area, Bradley feels that she has definitely excelled.
“‘ve adapted very well,” Bradley said. “I get along with the girls (on the team) great, and I’m doing well in school. Last year, I was the leader of my team and I expect the same thing out of myself this year.”
Bradley could not have done all this without her parents, who have moved wherever she needed to go to play tennis. Saturday was an example of this, as her mother was in attendance for her daughter’s first match since shoulder surgery.
Bradley also takes her tennis very seriously. There are few players in the game that want to be perfect in every way, but Bradley definitely has this quality, and it is what makes her a great player.
“Megan is a bit of a perfectionist,” Yaroshuk said. “She doesn’t like to miss anything, but she has to understand that missing is part of the game. However, that perfectionist attitude is also what makes her so good.”
Bradley’s on and off court personalities are polar opposites. On the court, she is fierce, perfect, and serious, while off the court, she is laid back, relaxed, and sometimes aloof. After her victory on Saturday night, she left her tennis rackets and water bottle behind at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center for her coaches to find.
“Megan is unbelievably laid back off the court, but always knows the important things,” Yaroshuk said. “When she’s on the court, she’s pure business. Its like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hide.”
Bradley wants to become a national champion, which according to Yaroshuk would be great for the University of Miami’s tennis program, which has not seen a female national champion in a long time.
“Megan winning the national title would be unbelievable for recruiting and for our program,” Yaroshuk said. “Just having her here is great for our program. This program hasn’t seen a national champion since the 1970s.”
You can reach Darren Grossman at DRG215@aol.com