Dasha Vidmanova is ranked No. 4 in the nation and was recently awarded first-team All-SEC honors after the Georgia Bulldogs won the 2023 SEC tournament. Vidmanova, a sophomore from Prague, Czech Republic, and her teammates will look to continue their postseason success when Georgia hosts the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament this Friday and Saturday.

Here she talks about her journey to UGA, her relationship with Mell Reasco and her expectations for the NCAA tournament.

(This interview has been edited for clarity.)

Q: What are your expectations going into the first round of the NCAA tournament and how are you mentally preparing?

A: Well, we’re number 3 at the moment, so I think we have a really good chance of playing a good tournament. And it’s like the last tournament of the season, postseason. So I’m excited, ready and we’ll have the first three rounds at home, hopefully we’ll make it to the third round to be at home. So that would be a great vibe I think, so definitely excited.

Q: What has been your favorite memory so far this season?

A: Well, probably winning the SEC (tournament) this season – it’s only been a few days. We played again in the final against A&M, our big rivals, and just won it. That was because we had lost to them three times before, so I really wanted to win this time. And I think that was really special.

Q: How did you celebrate winning the SEC tournament?

A: I was still playing when we decided. Of course everyone ran and jumped and then we got the trophy. And while actually still in Arkansas we went to this place Texas de Brazil when they brought you the meat that was pretty good we got a lot of food and dessert.

Q: How does earning All-SEC honors affect your confidence?

A: I think that gives confidence because I’ve had a really good season in the SEC. I lost two or three games which is pretty good. So I got the second team last year. I think getting the first team is really nice and it definitely boosted my confidence a bit.

Q: Do you prefer to play singles or doubles and why?

A: Definitely singles. I was never good at doubles. It should be fun, but I’m not really having fun. For example, when I play with Mell, it’s kind of fun. But I always prefer to rely on myself.

Q: What is it like competing in doubles with Mell Reasco?

A: So we know each other really well, we live together, we lived together last year. So we’re really close, so it’s always really fun. We like to have too much fun sometimes, we can’t concentrate, that’s why I think they switched us last year. But it’s always a lot of fun.

Q: Being from the Czech Republic, how did you first hear about UGA?

A: When I was playing juniors, my junior ranking was pretty good, so a lot of coaches started texting me – Instagram or text messages. And after trying to play some pro tournaments, things didn’t go so well. So I thought maybe going to the US would be a good choice. So I started talking to some of them, then made some visits and also visited Georgia. I really liked it here.

Q: How do you think your experiences of playing the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon (junior tournaments) prepared you for collegiate tennis?

A: Yes, definitely the Grand Slams are the biggest junior tournaments. So playing gave me a lot of knowledge and experience that I needed. I think the atmosphere in college is always very crowded and when I played the Grand Slams I had full stands too. So yeah, it was a really new thing for me.

Q: What are your goals in tennis after college?

A: Well, I’m still not sure if I want to try going pro or not. I’m still deciding. I think I’ll play part of the summer and then just see where I’m at after graduation – if I still like tennis, if I still want to play and if I want to do some professional tournaments. But right now I really don’t know.

Lily Brody is a student at the Sports Media Certificate Program at the University of Georgia’s Carmical Sports Media Institute.

UGA News


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