Grill The Spartan: Silvana Dukic

Silvana Dukic is a senior on the women’s tennis team. The three-time Academic All-Western Athletic Conference honoree enjoys folk dancing. The San Jose native, who once lived in Croatia, is a graduate of Santa Clara High School and a business major at San Jose State.

1. What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses on the court?

My biggest strength would be my running skill. I’m in good condition. Also my ground stroke, especially my backhand. My weaknesses would be my volleys, and, probably, doubles in general.

2. Who has been your biggest inspiration on the court?

One person who has showed me what a wonderful game it is has been Bruce Becker. I call him Mr. Becker. He’s been my coach since the first time I met him when I came back from Croatia my sophomore year of high school. He’s coached me, driven me to all my tournaments. He’s really taken care of me here.

3. When did you first begin to play tennis?

I started in Santa Clara over at Central Park when I was nine years-old. My dad signed me up for lessons.

4. What would you say is the biggest misconception about tennis for those who watch it rather than play?

People tend to think that it’s all about practicing but it’s really mental, too. You need to be mentally tough, mentally prepared. It’s not just a physical sport. They think practice hard and that makes you win, but really it’s practicing right.

5. Who’s your favorite player?

On the women’s side, I used to love Monica Seles and Martina Hingis. For men, I’ve always loved Lleyton Hewitt, but I love (Roger) Federer, too.

6. What is your biggest tennis goal?

Just to have a better record, to keep improving my game, because I think I have so much potential. It’s my senior year and I think that I’ll perform much better on a much higher level.

7. What’s the best part about playing tennis for SJSU and being a student-athlete?

Just having so many girls around you, having so much competition, practicing, and traveling together. It’s like having a second family. Also, working really hard at something and having amazing coaches.

8. What’s the most challenging aspect of being a student-athlete?

I’m a finance major, and the school work is so difficult. Practicing, working on your tennis game, while making sure you're still socializing and not forgetting about your family. Also, not forgetting about yourself and doing other hobbies you like. So, pretty much, time management and organization.

9. Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

I do, I’m a very superstitious person. So, if I was wearing specific earrings during a match when I played really well, I have to make sure I wear those earrings again. I also always make sure I have three balls with me on the court. So, yes, I do have a lot of superstitions.

10. What’s your favorite movie?

The Notebook

11. Do you have any favorite foods?

I love lamb and potatoes.

12. What’s your favorite place to travel to?

Well, Croatia because I’m from Croatia and Chicago, because my boyfriend lives there.

13. Do you have any favorite TV shows?

I don’t watch TV.

14. What’s your favorite activity outside of tennis?

I love dancing.

15. What artists and songs are in your Ipod right now?

Britney Spears, a lot of Croatian music, and Enrique Iglesias.

16. If there were one person you could spend the day with (dead or alive) who would it be?

It would be my grandpa. He passed away, but I would love to spend another day with him.

17. Outside of tennis and academics, describe an enjoyable weekend?

Shopping, spending time with my sister, Lydia, and babysitting.

18. What’s your most prized possession?

Probably my hands, I love my hands. Does that count? I love to take care of them, I like pretty hands.

19. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I definitely want to be teaching tennis, playing tennis, still. I always want, to keep dancing (jazz and hip-hop). Have a career in the business field, hopefully in finance. Be married and have two kids.

20. What’s one word that you would use to describe yourself?


This week’s Grill the Spartan was brought to you by The Grill On The Alley.

2008-09 Grill The Spartan Editions
June 13 - Jeff Leightman, Women's Soccer
August 20 - Lewis Sweeney, Men's Soccer
August 27 - Junior Burgos, Men's Soccer
September 3 - Ricky Dorrego, Men's Soccer
September 10 - Augie Argabright, Cross Country
September 24 - Silvana Dukic, Tennis