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Badger Women's Tennis full of international flavor

Published On: Sep 11 2013 04:26:48 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 11 2013 07:34:57 PM CDT


Becoming UW's new head women's tennis coach presents plenty of challenges, but compared to her last two jobs, Tina Samara's transition to Madison has been a breeze.

"My last two jobs I got hired mid-season, so this has been the easiest transition because I actually got to figure out where I lived before I had to take the court with a team that I didn't know," said Samara, who played college tennis at Georgia and professionally all over the world.

But whipping a team into shape isn't the only barrier between players and coach.  There are eight women on the Badger women's tennis team and only two are from the United States.  One is from Canada and the other five are international.

"I have never seen snow before coming here," said Nova Patel, redshirt sophomore from India.

"I go by Ella here, because it's so hard for everyone to pronounce [my name].  I'm from Finland, but I live in Singapore," said sophomore Pernilla Wohlstorm.

"I've seen it before, where the language starts to slip a little and they're still getting A's in econ and English 101, but I appreciate their creativity with that," said Samara.

Samara's family background has prepared her for the cultural diversity of coaching tennis. Her mother is from Norway and her dad is from Sri Lanka.  She was born in Oslo, Norway.

"My mom and dad are both foreign, so I think I can relate with their background better than if I didn't have parents from other places," said Samara.

Despite coming from all corners of the globe, the team shares at least one bond that knows no barriers.

"They have one important thing in common and that's tennis," said Samara.

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