Motivated for Success
The constant drive to keep getting better is something that has well represented fifth year tennis star Michaela Bayerlova during her time as a Coug. WSU fans know better than anyone that her passion has translated directly to the court.
Bayerlova recently received the highest singles ranking of her young career at 522 in the world, but she said that the ranking to her purely means she can still continue to improve.
"It shows me that I can keep going; it's a motivation for sure," Bayerlova said. "It's a lot more of a motivational aspect than something I think about going into a match."
Bayerlova has played in multiple International Tennis Federation World Tour tournaments over the past several months. The locations she's played at in these recent matches have included the United States, Denmark, Belgium, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Italy, France, and Greece.
Bayerlova, who is from the Czech Republic but now lives in Germany, said she plans on continuing to play in these tournaments in the summer after the colligate season.
Bayerlova credited WSU coaches Raquel Atawo and Fons Verberne for their ongoing motivation towards her and the team in terms of pushing them to keep working to get better.
"I think I've always been the worker and wanting to get better," Bayerlova said. "And I think that both coaches this year are the same way; they keep on pushing us to improve."
Atawo, who was just hired as WSU tennis' eighth head coach in July, recently retired from a 15-year professional career in 2019. The UC Berkeley-alum is a former Pac-10 Player of the Year, while also earning world ranks as high as 10th in doubles and 162nd in singles to go along with 50 Grand Slam event appearances.
Despite Atawo being brand new to the entire team, Bayerlova said that her lengthy career and experience at the highest level of tennis has already made the team better and more prepared for the season.
"She's different in the way that she has a lot of experience in tennis itself and playing the game herself," Bayerlova said. "She always knows what's going on and see's stuff that most wouldn't."
In terms of what Atawo has done towards improving Bayerlova's game, she said her development of volleys and introductions to new drills have already made a big difference.
A daily routine is something that has always helped Bayerlova on nonmatch days while trying to advance herself as an athlete. She said apart from the traditional practices and weight training, recovery is one of the biggest aspects to staying healthy and ready.
"Any stretching, foam rolling, or rehab stuff is really important," Bayerlova said. "Now I'm also starting to learn more into the mental part."
Bayerlova said that her goal for the team this season is to be in the top half of the Pac-12 as well as making the NCAA tournament. One of her personal goals is to make it to the NCAA doubles tournament since she's never been there in her WSU career.
After her final season on the Palouse, Bayerlova plans to continue her tennis career at the professional level while always striving to be a better player each time she takes the court.