• FPC_tamara_tennis.jpg
    Tamara Jeremic arrived from Belgrade, Serbia to play for NCCU’s tennis team in fall 2013. PHOTO BY BRUCE DEPYSSLER/CAMPUS ECHO ADVISER

Same court, different country

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For senior tennis player Tamara Jeremic, the past four years at N.C. Central University have been tough with “a lot of blood, sweat, and tears left on the court,” but entirely worth it.

Jeremic’s journey to NCCU, like that of most students here, started with a college search. But unlike others, she was living thousands of miles away in her home country of Serbia.

 “It was a bit weird in the beginning,” Jeremic (pronounced YEH-reh-meech) admitted.

“I had to make a video of myself playing to pinpoint the major shots and everything. Then it was emails to coaches at any school I could find telling them who I was and what I was interested in studying under a full scholarship.”

She had offers with full scholarships from schools other than NCCU, but all of those schools had something she or her parents didn’t like.

“It took a while, but I’m glad I’m here,” Jeremic said.

What stood out to Jeremic and her parents about NCCU during the recruiting process was former tennis head coach David Nass, who Jeremic credits with bringing her here and being “a parent to every one of us (tennis players),” especially as she adjusted to living in the United States.

“The (difference between Serbia and the United States) that got me first was that people say ‘hello’ to you and they don’t even know you,” Jeremic said.

“I was so confused the first few times. People holding the door for you and everyone being so apologetic and polite was so strange.”

Jeremic, better known to friends as Tam, says that what comes easiest to her in tennis is her serves because it’s “on her own terms.”

“It takes one second, but it’s still the first shot and you have to make it. Focus is important to me as well—I have to keep my mind on the courts.”

Fellow senior Lynsey Cover, who has played doubles with Jeremic throughout both of their athletic careers at NCCU, said that her teammate is a perfectionist.

“She is very hard on herself because she wants to be the best she can be,” Cover said. “(Tam) loves order.”

Jeremic’s hard work has paid off—outside of doubles wins with Cover every year she’s been at NCCU, Jeremic is a two-time member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tennis All-Academic team (2015 and 2016) and the 2016 recipient of the Coach’s Award in women’s tennis at the 2016 NCCU Athletics awards ceremony in May.

“Tam is extremely conscientious in everything that she does,” NCCU Women’s Tennis Head Coach and Coordinator of Tennis Operations Tom Schrecengost said. “In terms of her leadership qualities, she’s more of a quiet leader.”

Reflecting on her time here at NCCU, there was one thing that she struggled with throughout the years.

“I miss home. I don’t really get to say it much and I’m usually not a homesick person, but it’s been over a year since I’ve been at home and I’m really feeling it,” she said. “Especially my little brother Luka and for things like my birthday, which at home is St. Luka’s Day.”

Jeremic’s advice to future international student-athletes that come to NCCU is to try not to think about missing home and “stay optimistic.”

As for where Jeremic is headed after graduation, she plans to enter either a physician’s assistant or graduate program.

“I’m ready to see what’s out there for me. I’m still going to play (tennis) for myself, but we’ll see how it goes.”

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Kaylee Sciacca is a Mass Communications student at NCCU from Durham, NC with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Geographic Information Systems.

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