Ana Vujosevic and the Nole SchoolSTAFF MEMBER IN THE ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT, ANA IS NOW ALSO TEAM MANAGER OF BOCCONI SPORT'S TENNIS TEAMS
If you had the same coach as Novak Djokovic, you too would never tire of talking about it. It acts as irrevocable proof of one’s tennis skills, regardless of whether they pursued a professional career in the sport or not. It either was not meant to be, or—simply put—they chose a different path instead.
Ana Jelena Vujosevic is a 28-year old Academic Services Officer in the Accounting Department who has been recently appointed Tennis Team Manager at Bocconi Sport. She was #2 on the under-18 team in Montenegro, where her father was born (her mother is Italian), and she also played in Monza, Italy, where she lived with her family. “I started playing tennis at the sports club by my house at three years old. Then, since I was doing quite well, I switched to another center to play on more competitive teams.” At age 11, I met and tried out with a Serbian icon of tennis, Jelena Gencic. She was the one who helped launch on the international stage champions including Djokovic, Goran Ivanisevic, Monica Seles and others. “She considered me good enough to refer me to one of the most famous tennis academies at the time, that of Nikola Pilic in Munich.” Ana was there for three years, participating in various tournaments and increasingly intensive training. At age 16, she moved to Montenegro, where she remained until age 18. At this point she found herself at a crossroads. “I had two choices: throw myself into professional tennis and try my hand at Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tournaments, or head to one of the many universities in the United States that offered me a scholarship to play with their colors in college. I chose the latter, and attended the University of South Dakota—whose tennis team played in Division One, the more competitive league.”
Unfortunately, it was not an entirely positive experience, prompting her to look for another and eventually landing on Metropolitan State University of Denver. “There, on the other hand, I had a great time,” says Ana, “because in addition to tennis, I was also focused on my studies and—most importantly—I found myself in a large city, with all of its appeal.” She soon became team captain, leading it to league victory and helping promote tennis in the local area by helping out at some of the city’s underprivileged schools. “I then attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which offered me the opportunity to attend a Master program while I play tennis.”
Now that her competitive sports career at the highest level is behind her, Ana expresses no regrets and is very happy with the choices she has made. “In tennis, many athletes have the technical and physical skills to stand out. What makes the difference is mental strength—that fierce determination that drives you to devote 100% of your time to that one goal. In this respect, I was lacking.” At Bocconi, Ana has accepted to lead the University's tennis team, and in October they will go head-to-head with some of Europe's most prestigious universities in the European Clay Tournament on the courts of the Monte Carlo Country Club, where every year in April the prestigious Masters 1,000 with the world's best players is played. “I have never been,” dice Ana, “so it will be an amazing experience even for me. There are five female players on the team (Alice Agazzi, Bianca Cavallieri, Rachele Paloschi, Roberta Pizzigallo and Andra Popescu) and five male players (Johannes Klein, Tommaso Lucattini, Kaito Kitakami, Simone Resmini and Giovanni Canova), but only six will be chosen as part of the group heading to Monaco.”
Given her own experience in the US, Ana can give some advice to the team. “One of the things I learned in the US is that, even in an individual sport such as tennis, team spirit on occasions like this is important and can make a difference. On the technical side, we have hired a coach who will support us. I am still waiting, perhaps, to fulfill another dream of mine—becoming a teacher.”
by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Rosa Palmieri