Cal Inks Nation's No. 1 Women's Tennis Recruit

Nov. 15, 2002

Berkeley, Calif. - Cal head coach Jan Brogan announced today the signing of the nation's No. 1 women's tennis prospect, Alexandra Podkolzina, to a national letter-of-intent. Podkolzina represents the highest-ranking recruit to ever sign with the Bears' women's tennis team in the program's 30-year history, according to Brogan.

Hailing from Northgate High School in Concord, the Russian native Podkolzina is ranked as the No. 1 Girls' 18-and-under-junior player, according to November's USTA National Junior Rankings.

Growing up in Moscow, Russia, Podkolzina immigrated to the United States five years ago. Prior to her arrival in America, the 11-year-old Podkolzina moved to Marbella, Spain to train with Manolo Santana, Spain's former Davis Cup coach. At 13, Podkolzina relocated in Tampa, Fla., to attend the prestigious Saddlebrook Academy that has honed the skills of many tennis greats, including Jennifer Capriati. Since moving to Northern California, she has garnered numerous accolades and accomplishments, including the Girls 16's national title, 18's clay national title and 18's national hard court title.

'We are excited about the opportunity to bring someone of Alexandra's caliber to Cal,' said Brogan. 'She is an elite athlete that will raise our program to the next level and keep the rest of the team on their toes.'

As the No. 7 seed at the USTA Girls 18's Super National Hard Court Championships, she bested No. 9 seed Whitney Deason of Houston 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in winning the title. With the victory, Podkolzina became only the second player in 11 years to win the Girls 18's hard court and clay court championships in the same year (Lindsey Davenport did it in 1991). The victory earned her a wild-card spot in the 2002 U.S. Open.

At this year's U.S. Open in Flushing, N.Y., Podkolzina suffered a first-round loss to German ace Anca Barna 6-1, 6-2. She rebounded at the Junior U.S. Open in September, defeating the USA's Mary Gambale 7-6(3), 6-1 in the first round before being upended in the second round by the No. 8 seed Shenay Perry of the United States 6-1, 6-2.

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