Tennis Sophomore Enjoying Time at Washington State

Dec. 5, 2005

By Conor P. LaffeyWSU Sports Information

Washington State sophomore Ekaterina Burduli has smashed her way into the tennis scene. The Tel Aviv, Israel native has made her mark of being one the leaders on this year's tennis squad.

The five foot six sophomore is now ready to improve on last year's 15 win season and help the Cougars get back into the NCAA tournament something they haven't done since 2001-2202 season. The goal of improving on last season and last year's major upset of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 6 Dea Sumantri of Washington will be hard to surpass. However, Burduli is on the right path. Already this season, she has faced five ranked opponents, and accumulated 8 wins with dual match play still to come in January.

The on-court transition has been easy for Burduli, who has already made a name for herself by qualifying for this year's All American Invitational. However, Burduli is still getting use to the United State's lifestyle.

'The hardest thing is that the culture is so different,' Burduli said in a recent interview. 'In Israel people are more emotional with more temperamental and more of an aggressive style, and here, especially in Pullman the people are so nice and so calm.'

The passion and aggressive style Burduli gained from growing up in Israel has made her a fierce competitor on the courts. This year Burduli has already upset No. 31 Ramona But of Maryland at the Maryland Invitational.

The trip to Maryland also had a major impact on Burduli's life, this one off the court. She did upset But, and finished second overall in the tournament, but the trip to the east sticks out the most for the fun loving sophomore because the team was able to visit Washington D.C. and able to ride in a limo, for the first time. However, the plane ride is what Burduli remembers the most. She said the plane had a lot of turbulence, which caused a domino effect. Burduli started crying and then the tennis player adjacent to her started crying, and in a matter of moments most of the team was in tears. She recalls Washington State Head Tennis Coach Lisa Hart quickly taking charge and reassuring the women it was going to be ok.

Burduli has felt right at home with her teammates, and gives a lot of the credit to the term Cougar Family. She agreed it's like one giant family. Within her team, trips to the restaurant, subways, and plane rides are made much more interesting. She laughs when thinking about past dinners with the team, because she said the team gets so loud and the coaches and waitresses are consistently telling the team to quiet down.

When Burduli steps onto the court she has a look about her that she fears nothing, even though the secret of her fear of flying is out. She plays as if she's flying high, but she would much prefer keeping her feet on the ground.

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