Sophomore Tina Kreinis is known by her teammates for her tenacity on the court.
In her second year at Minnesota, she is learning how to channel it.
Kreinis said her competitiveness comes from being the youngest in her family. In everything Kreinis does, she said she feels like she has something to prove. The competitiveness in her has helped make her a consistent start in the Gophers lineup through her two years. The sophomore has gone 10-7 playing in the No. 2 singles position this year and 10-5 in doubles.
“I was so competitive with my older brother and I just always wanted to outdo him and it just kind of translated to playing sports,” Kreinis said. “I just can’t hold my competitiveness in, it is just has to come out.”
Looking across the Baseline Tennis Courts to see their teammate Kreinis tenacity displayed is nothing out of the ordinary for Minnesota players. Junior Annemarie Emme said her game is lifted up to a new level when playing doubles with Kreinis.
The duo is 7-5 this spring, with two unfinished matches. Even though the record isn’t the best on the team, Emme feels they elevate each other’s game.
“It inspires everyone else, every team has to have someone who does that, otherwise everyone will not have any energy,” Emme said. “Even if it is in a bad way it just elevates everyone’s level of energy and intensity and that is huge.”
Kreinis was born in Israel and moved to Toronto, Canada when she was six years old. Her first language is Russian. She still speaks the language with her parents and infrequently with students on campus who also know it.
Tennis was not the only sport she competed in. Before picking up a racket, she competed nationally in gymnastics out of her club in Toronto. Kreinis said gymnastics felt like a promising sport for her.
However, one day when she was seven years old, she went to her older brother’s tennis practice and fell in love with the game.
“I started hitting the ball around and I was like ‘I want to do this so bad,’” Kreinis said.
She said after that her parents made her choose between gymnastics and tennis, it was not difficult to decide. She took up tennis at age eight and hasn’t set down the racquet since.
Now, coming into April, Kreinis lost the last four of her matches. The Gophers will need Kreinis to step up and head coach Catrina Thompson said she has learned some valuable lessons over the past month. The main lesson being controlling her emotions and not getting too high or low in a match.
Going into the final month of competition, Kreinis said she knows she will need to stay aggressive, but understand that her emotions will need to stay in check.
“The most important thing I have learned is that you got to have a short term memory,” Kreinis said. “With short term memory, the next day is a new day and you just have to be mentally pretty tough and be able to move past things.”