The Daily Eastern News

Slaria excels on, off court

Kat Christian, Contributor

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Eastern women’s tennis player Srishti Slaria has had a successful three-year career.

Slaria, who is originally from India, has had quite the American experience playing collegiate tennis at the Division I level.

She was 16th in the All-India under 18 ranking and found her way to America and Eastern.

Slaria wanted to play in the US because in India a player could go to a university and study but not play other teams or compete, but in America she could have both.

She had three to four different Division I scholarships but narrowed it down two, and eventually chose Eastern.

“I really liked the coach and the program,” she said. “Coming all the way to Illinois from India was not a big adjustment, because I strived for Division I and wanted to go to the best of the best.”

Slaria began playing at eight years old in New Delhi, the capital of India.

Slaria comes a military family, which resulted in moving around frequently, landing her and her family in Thailand for two years.

That is where she picked up the fundamentals of the game of tennis and really began improving her game.

“I loved the sport and loved competing,” she said.

In Thailand she played several tournaments.

After her two years in Thailand, she had to give up playing at age 11 because there was not a facility where she could play where her dad was stationed.

At age 13, she picked up the sport again in India and has played ever since then.

Slaria finished her junior season ranked number four in career wins at No. 3 doubles, was 4-4 in Ohio Valley Conference play, finished the season ranked No. 10 on EIU career singles wins’ list at No. 3 singles, third for career wins at No. 4 singles and ninth for career wins at No. 5 singles, and posted a 5-5 record in fall singles tournament action.

Now heading into her senior season, Slaria has team goals for the coming year.

“Our biggest goal is to win the OVC Conference Championship and make it to the NCAA tournament,” she said.

She believes the team can achieve this goal by staying fit, practicing hard to play well, and by staying united and playing together. Staying together was a huge part of the team’s improvement this year because they were without a coach, so Eastern men’s tennis coach, Sam Kercheval took over the team.

Slaria has also transitioned that hard work from the court to the classroom.

Over her three years of being at Eastern, she managed to be a collegiate athlete and maintain a 4.0 GPA.

She has received the OVC Academic Medal of Honor as a freshman and sophomore, made Commissioner’s Honor Roll and was named an Intercollegiate Scholar Athlete.

“I wanted to come to Division I to be able to study and play at the same time, she said.

Her teammate Rachel Papavasilopoulos also notices the hard work she puts in on and off the court

“Srishti is very dedicated on the court and in the classroom. She is a very supportive teammate and friend.”

Slaria hopes to maintain her 4.0 for her last year at Eastern and her goal is to receive the OVC Medal of Honor for four years in a row.

Kat Christian can be reached at 581-2812 [email protected]

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Slaria excels on, off court