April 19, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
K-State Sports Extra highlights a student-athlete each month through the monthly Q&A Sports Extra special. This month's feature student-athlete is K-State tennis senior Petra Niedermayerova.
Among the K-State tennis program's most successful athletes, Niedermayerova, a native of Brno, Czech Republic, holds the school record for career singles wins (102-42) and career doubles wins (73-47). In 2012-13, she recorded the most doubles wins in a single season (27) along with a school-record 32 singles wins. She is a two time ITA All-American and is a three-time All-Big 12 performer, including a stellar 2011 season where she earned both Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors.
Not only a success on the court, but Niedermayerova has also excelled in the classroom. The economics major earned the honor of the Big 12's Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2013 when she was also named an Academic All-American for the first time in her career.
Niedermayerova will graduate from K-State as a Phi Beta Kappa selection this May and plans on continuing education at Boston University where she will enter its Ph.D. program in economics this fall.
"In my five years here we've had a lot of great student-athletes, and certainly I would put Petra Niedermayerova up at the very top," said K-State athletics director John Currie. "I would describe Petra as our coxswain student-athlete; she represents so many great things about K-State. When you have someone who achieves the athletic notoriety that Petra has being an All-American and All-Big 12 performer as well as being a tremendous student - Petra has come here and done an incredible job of representing the Czech Republic and her family. She's been a delight to have here, and we look forward to following her as she goes on to Boston University. I know that she's going to have a very positive effect on the world."
Niedermayerova will celebrate her K-State career today with special Senior Day festivities before the Wildcats face Kansas at 12 p.m., in Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.
Q&A With Petra Niedermayerova:
Sports Extra: Starting with our question pulled from social media, Caleb Garten on Facebook asks, "Why did you choose to come to K-State and what were your first impressions of K-State, Manhattan and Kansas?"
Petra Niedermayerova: I was offered a scholarship and my family and I realized that it was a good place for me to get my bachelor's degree and play tennis. Kansas seemed like a nice place to live and Manhattan, I always thought that Manhattan was a very nice community, so I guess that was the reason.
SE: What is your favorite part about being a student-athlete at K-State?
PN: It's a combination of things, part of the day I have to study and part of the day I get to move. So, it's a good balanced schedule instead of sitting and sitting and sitting and studying. I get to do what I like in my free time. It's fun.
SE: When you're not out here playing tennis, what is something people can find you doing?
PN: Well, I'm sitting and studying (laughing). No, but I really like to go to coffee houses, so I usually just spend my time there.
SE: What are you studying at K-State and why did you choose that major?
PN: I'm studying economics. I chose that major because I didn't like any other sciences - biology or physics - and I really wanted to be close to the real world. When you look at newspapers, it's all about economics of some sort. So I guess that was the initial attraction, and then I like math, I like solving problems. I'm kind of rational so it was my choice.
SE: You're an All-American competitor on the court, but also for your work off the court you're an Academic All-American. Has it been tough balancing school and sports?
PN: It isn't always so easy, but I guess it's very important to manage your time and really be kind of ambitious. I want to do as good as possible in every single exam and also on the court, so you know, the usual.
SE: You hold the career singles record as well as the record for career doubles wins. How does that feel knowing you're such a big a part of K-State tennis history?
PN: It was a goal. It's a really nice record, probably when I'm older I'm going to value it a little bit more than right now since I'm still playing and focused on what's going to happen rather than what already happened, but it's a nice feeling and I hope that nobody's ever going to break it."
SE: Senior Day is coming up. What do you imagine your emotions will be like playing at home for the final time?
PN: Well, I usually don't cry when it comes to these situations, but I guess we'll see. It depends on who's going to show up and if we have a good crowd, then it's going to be more emotional. I mean, I don't know, we'll see. I'm really excited for the day. It's going to be a nice moment."
SE: What are a few of your favorite memories from your career here K-State?
PN: The first Big 12 match ever that I played against Baylor my freshman year was awesome. We won. They were supposed to win, but we beat them and that was really cool. We beat Texas A&M my sophomore year, which was a really nice moment, then, when I won the matches in the NCAAs, that was also really cool."
Do you have a student-athlete you'd love to get to know? Email K-State Sports Extra's Kelly McHugh and help choose next month's interviewee!