Sports, Tennis

German star embraces role as leader

She’s the No. 8 collegiate tennis player in the nation. She’s part of the 11th-ranked doubles tandem and a tennis program currently ranked in the top five. She has 128 career singles wins, three shy of tying the UM record set by former teammate Laura Vallverdu.

But if you saw Bianca Eickhorn strolling through the University of Miami campus, you’d think she’s just your average senior trying to live the college life while finishing her final academic semester strong.

“On the tennis court, Bianca is always very focused, very robotic,” said her doubles teammate Anna Bartenstein. “But away from the tennis court she can be more relaxed. She’s really funny.”

Eickhorn hails from Tengen, Germany, and speaks four different languages- English, German, French and Italian. She is majoring in international finance and marketing, and says that her career aspirations are in business, not tennis.

“I knew I didn’t want to be a professional tennis player,” Eickhorn said. “But I still love tennis that much that I wanted to see how far I can get… and study at the same time.”

She came to Miami primarily for her education and secondly to continue playing the sport she fell in love with back home. Not far down on her list is the time spent basking in the sun on South Florida’s sandy beaches.

But her time in Miami has not all been fun in the sun.

Eickhorn has dealt with a great deal of homesickness over the years. Even when she first came to the states as a freshman in 2007, she says it took her some time to assimilate to the culture, the various people and even the food.

“I came from a village of 2,000 people in Germany where whenever I went out for a walk I always had someone I could talk to or someone I knew,” Eickhorn said. “Then I come here for the first time and it’s like it’s all new people around me.”

On the tennis court, her other home, it didn’t take Eickhorn long to get comfortable and accommodated with her surroundings.

Being one of the few upperclassmen on the young women’s team, she has accepted a leadership role on the squad.

“Bianca is the leader of the team,” Bartenstein said. “She’s the only senior and sets a good example.”

She’s currently 28-6 on the season and 17-2 in dual match play at No. 1 singles for the Canes.

What makes her so great on the tennis court?

“It’s definitely the discipline, hard work and just the desire to be out there every single day,” Eickhorn said. “Whenever I step in between these lines, there isn’t anything I give these opponents.”

She has accumulated a 24-4 record with Bartenstein as her partner in doubles play.

“We know each other really well. We are good friends,”  Bartenstein said. “We rely on each other on the tennis court and we have each other’s back.”

To sum up the last four years, Eickhorn said, “It was a great experience that made me experience my highest highs and my lowest lows.”

David Furones may be contacted at dfurones@themiamihurricane.com

April 10, 2011

Reporters

David Furones

Senior Sports Writer


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