Friday, July 19, 2013
Lorena Djuknic and Melissa Kromer have been serving as ambassadors for Lipscomb on the tennis courts of Germany this summer.
Kromer, who serves as captain of TC BW Oberweier, asked her Lipscomb teammate, Djuknic to join her team. Djuknic is from Croatia and Kromer is from Germany.
“I decided to team with Lorena because I liked her style of playing from the beginning,” Kromer said. “I thought she would also be a great part of the team in Germany.
“I talked to my coach. We both knew we would need somebody else and we decided to offer her the opportunity to play for us.”
Djuknic did not join the Lady Bisons team until spring semester. But she made an immediate impact on the coaching staff and her teammates with her talent and intensity on the court.
“When she came to our team in the spring, it sounds funny, but when I saw her playing I got really excited about what she could for our team,” Kromer said. “We both play a really aggressive groundstroke game and are motivated till the end of a match.
“Lorena and I became really good friends and team partners over the spring in Nashville and here in Germany. It's a great opportunity for us to practice and get better! We're looking forward to a good season at Lipscomb this year.”
Originally, Djuknic has planned to fly back and forth from Croatia to Germany to participate in the matches. But that planned quickly changed when Kromer’s family invited Djuknic to stay with them. She plans to spend the last few weeks before returning to Lipscomb with her family in Croatia.
“While we were at Lipscomb I was telling Mel how much I’m passionate about tennis and that I would like to just play all day long every day,” Djuknic said. “So she told me about her German league.
“Her coach checked my tennis video on YouTube and checked my results at Lipscomb over the semester. At the end he trusted Mel’s word about me.”
They weren’t a doubles team this past season, but they are almost mirror images in their styles of play.
“Mel and I are playing similar tennis in so many ways,” Djuknic said. “That was actually one of the first questions I was asked when I came to Lipscomb. The coaches used to ask me who I compared my style of play with from our team, and I just said it’s the same as Melissa’s.
“Both of us are aggressive players with good serves. We feel good on the net, and we like to take risks while playing.”
Jamie Aid, assistant Lady Bisons tennis coach, likes the traits exhibited by both players on the court and is certain the two will only get better with each passing match.
“Lorena in one word is a `fighter’,” Aid said. “Many times she comes off the court with skinned knees because there isn't one ball she will not go for. I have received several pictures this summer of some skinned knees from Germany!
“Lorena's biggest goal this summer is to become more physical as a player. Playing matches is the best way to improve that aspect.”
Aid is hopeful that Kromer is working on being more patient on the court without losing her intensity.
“Melissa is an aggressive-style player which I like,” Aid said. “She isn't afraid to go for balls.
“Over the course of the season I think Melissa learned that she might have to stay in the point longer before she can go for that shot. Again, the best way to improve her game is matches.”
Aid is glad tennis fans in Germany are getting the chance to see the Purple and Gold of Lipscomb on the court.
“We always talk to our girls about being ambassadors for our school and what that means,” Aid said. “Tennis is a unique sport because it is so global.
“Melissa and Lorena are being ambassadors for our school and our program while over there. For me, as a coach, I think it is so neat that they are having the ability to play together and having the opportunity to share the story of Lipscomb.”
Aid stresses that both players are solid representatives of what the school and the athletic department stand for on the world stage.
“Both Melissa and Lorena came to Lipscomb for Lipscomb…not just for tennis,” Aid said. “That is how we recruit. You have to want to come to Lipscomb for our culture and not just the opportunity to play an NCAA Division I sport.
“The word I want them to spread is what a unique place Lipscomb is compared to other schools. These two thrived at Lipscomb academically. Lorena had a 4.0 and Melissa finished the year with a 3.8 GPA which is outstanding for freshman.”
Aid agrees that the competition the two have faced this summer will pay dividends in the fall and spring seasons.
“These are two great girls and I love that they are working with each other to become better players,” Aid said. “It is a huge help having a teammate there to push you along the way. I am excited to see Lorena and Melissa return in the fall playing more effectively and really being comfortable in how they play.”