By Sean Doerre
Big 12 Correspondent
After a very successful junior season, the senior campaign of Csilla Borsanyi was shaping up to be to a great one for the Baylor women’s tennis team, but then the season started and the losses piled up – five in a row for the two-time ITA All-American.
“I still don’t know what happened to me in the beginning,” Borsanyi said. “It was just really tough for me. I wanted to do well in my last season and I tried and tried, but it didn’t work.”
Part of the slow start was due to a nagging injury that Borsanyi was forced to deal with at the end of 2009 that spilled into the early part of 2010. The low point for the senior came in a conference match against Oklahoma when she lost in straight sets. However, she has responded to the early struggles by winning 17 of her last 20 matches and 12 straight.
“She was really not playing well and that made me re-evaluate how we were coaching her and developing her in practice,” Baylor Head Coach Joey Scrivano said. “I realized we had to do something different because what maybe worked last year, wasn’t working this year. She was so coachable and really trusted the path we were going to go that she was able to get back on track really quickly and that helped the team tremendously.”
The Siofok, Hungary-native started playing tennis at the age of six after watching her older sister on the courts. From the moment Borsanyi picked up the racket, she was motivated by a desire to be like her sister.
“She was so much better than me,” Borsanyi said. “She was four years older, so she obviously had an advantage, but I couldn’t handle losing to her. I always wanted to beat her.”
By the time Borsanyi was 13, she was beating her sister and was on her way to making a name for herself in the tennis world.
“I thought there was no way I wanted to go to college,” Borsanyi said. “I just wanted to turn pro, just like 90 percent of the players. Then, I realized it wasn’t the thing I wanted to do or could do, so I thought I would give college a try.”
Borsanyi started at the University of Florida. In her freshman season, she won a team best 29 matches on her way to earning All-SEC second team honors and All-American status in singles. She repeated her success in her second year, as she achieved an ITA ranking of No. 32 during the season and made her second trip to the NCAA Individual Championships. However, the successful Gator decided to make a change.
“It was a good place and I had nice people around me, but I wanted something different,” Borsanyi said. “I wanted a different tennis program, and I think I fit into Baylor’s program better than I did in that one.”
Scrivano was quick to welcome the highly-touted transfer into his program after she expressed interest in Baylor, but he felt he could make Borsanyi an even better player.
“Csilla’s first day of practice here was really a wakeup call that we do things a little differently,” Scrivano said. “To her credit, she has made the most of her opportunity here. She has really embraced the Baylor philosophy, and I am really happy she was adaptable, coachable and willing to buy into our system.”
In making the most of her opportunity, Borsanyi has won back-to-back Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player honors, while compiling a 58-21 overall singles record at Baylor and helping the program to its first ever No. 1 national ranking.
“The No. 1 ranking in the nation is really good, but that is not our goal,” Borsanyi said. “We still have the NCAAs in front of us. We just want to finish at No. 1, and if that is going to happen, I am going to be the happiest person ever.”
This season, Borsanyi is one of only three seniors on Baylor’s roster and partners with fellow senior Lenka Broosova to make up the 11th-ranked doubles duo in the country. The pair has produced a 23-4 overall record and is currently on a 10-match win streak.
Scrivano could not be more pleased that his pair of seniors has bonded so well and provided the rest of his team with an excellent example to follow.
“If your seniors listen and are accountable, everyone else is going to fall in line and that is where Csilla and Lenka have done a great job,” Scrivano said. “They have been willing to be accountable and that makes a world of difference, and hopefully, that will get passed on to these future upperclassmen.”
As for the team’s upcoming chances in the NCAA Championship, Borsanyi is very optimistic because the Lady Bears have downed six top 10-ranked teams already this season and are 21-2 against the ITA’s top 75.
“I think we have a pretty good chance,” Borsanyi said. “Obviously, there are a lot of good teams and they will be tough to beat, but if we just do the right things and do what we have been doing and don’t get distracted, we can do it.”