June 30, 2009
Serbian native Dusan Medan joined the men's tennis team as a sophmore, and has already set his names in the record books. With two consecutive MVP-worthy seasons and an overall 61-16 singles record in as many seasons of play, the senior is just 17 wins shy of becoming the program's all-time leader in singles victories.
What have you been doing this summer?
I'm interning at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wauwatosa. Right now, it's very busy. I started at the front desk in accounting, sales and marketing, so it's my economics internship. It covers every aspect of my economics major.
Marquette basketball's Lazar Hayward will be playing in Serbia for the World University Games. What should he expect there?
Have you talked to him at all about Serbia? A little bit. I mentioned it before he got selected and made the team. I don't think they'll have too much free time to go around, but there is definitely a different lifestyle and mentality. It's so much more slow and laid back - you don't have to schedule anything. They'll be fine and have a good time there. I can tell you it is a big thing in Serbia right now. I know how much media is involved and how people are looking forward to the University Games - it's a big thing for Serbia, not just for basketball but for any other sport.
The No. 4 player right now in the world, Novak Djokovic, comes from Serbia, and you've played with him since your youth. What is it like seeing someone from Serbia on the world stage?
Serbia in the last couple of years actually has four or five good players in the top 40. It's not just Djokovic, in the woman's category, it has Ana Ivanovic, she's eighth in the world. They were top five, at one point Djokovic was third, now he's four. We also have another who is top 50, 60 all the time. We have a guy who plays doubles who was No. 1 in the world for three years. It's really cool to see someone you know, especially if they've come from such a small country like Serbia with nine or ten million people. Regarding Novak Djokovic, I played him a couple times in Juniors. We traveled and played the same tournaments. Serbia is small so when you play the same tournaments, it's hard to miss him. He's an outstanding player, he even was in Juniors. It's cool to say I played with him and now he's top in the world.
How has is been being so far from home?
I'm adjusting a lot better. My first semester in Alabama [at Troy University] when I came my freshman year, I wasn't happy there and I was so homesick. After I came here, I still didn't get a chance to go home a lot. I went up the first semester and then last year I stayed the entire year and took summer school. Now it's not as hard because I know so many people and time really goes fast. I miss home a lot, I'm actually going home in the end of July for a month there. I miss my parents and my sisters.
As the team's Most Valuable Player for the second straight season, how does it feel to be recognized for your accomplishments?
It feels great. One thing that I want to say is that it is impossible to do it without the entire team and coaches. They helped me out, they pushed me as hard as they could. I think we had a really good season and it was just a reflection of hard work from practice. There are a lot of players on the team that also deserved it, but it just happened that I had a couple more wins than other guys. We all work hard the entire year and this is just a reflection of that.
Does the MVP title give you an added confidence going into next year?
For sure. It always feels good to have a title for yourself and it helps to build a confidence for yourself which is important. It gives me confidence, and especially Niko [Boulieris], Mark [Rutherford] and I are going to be seniors next year, so it will help us to organize ourselves better and take responsibility.
What were some highlights of last season for you?
I was disappointed after I read the last article of our season in the Marquette Tribune that said we had huge talent but were low on results. I disagree with that and I believe most of my teammates do too, because if you look at the Marquette men's tennis program in the last ten years, the last two years were the most successful. It's hard to say that we didn't have any results. We played South Florida on their court and lost 4-3 in a really tough match and they ended up winning in the BIG EAST Tournament. We lost in the conference tournament against DePaul and they end up being second in the BIG EAST. I agree we had that really bad loss against St. John's in the last match of the year, but overall, we beat Central Florida there. We struggled with those ranked teams, but the highlight probably was that win against UCF before the BIG EAST Tournament.
As a senior, is there a sense of urgency since next season will be the last year for you?
Yeah, we really look forward to working hard. Now, we're working hard on our own trying to stay in shape, fielding balls on our own to be ready for that fall semester. We have two new guys coming in and we want them to know that even though fall isn't our official season, we play a lot of matches and it's a really important semester. If you do well in the fall, it's most likely you will do well in the spring instead of the reverse. We look forward to working hard and taking advantage of the fall to get ready and do the best we can in the spring.
With your BIG EAST Championship experience and All-BIG EAST honors, will you feel more comfortable having already been in that environment?
It definitely helps. Every BIG EAST Tournament is different, but it helps a lot when you know you're in a situation like that and you know what to expect. For people, it's usually fear from that unknown. If you know what to expect, it's kind of easier to do. We need to make sure the incoming freshman feel comfortable when they go there and it's not that big of a difference.
At the beginning of the season, Coach Rodecap said you were able to step up and take on a larger leadership role. How did you do that?
I think I did a fairly good job with that - and not just me, all of us really tried to do the best we can in practice and stay loud. It's really hard, the season is long, practices every day, going to weights, running at six o'clock in the morning. After two or three months, people get tired. The most important part is just to motivate your teammates. I did a good job with that because it's just talking with every single player on the team and making sure that everybody is on the same page.
Last season was your second straight with 30-plus singles victories. How have you been able to be so dominant on the singles side?
I think the key for success is not looking at it like, "I want to have 30 singles victories." Of course you need to have some goals before the beginning of the season that will keep you going, but if you focus on every match like the most important one I think something like this is going to happen. Good things are going to happen. We talk about that with the coaches and they really try to bring that to our attention because we play some teams that are a lot better and some that aren't as good. There are no small enemies - it's always a big match for someone and if you carry that approach in a match I think good things are going to happen.
You need 17 more singles wins to be the program's all-time leader in singles victories. Does that add more pressure for you next season?
I didn't know that, to be honest with you, but I don't think it's going to be too much pressure. I'm just trying to work hard and good things are going to happen. Tennis is an individual sport but in college tennis, the team is more important than anything else. As long as people think that they are more important than the team, that's not good. I think that our two seniors from last year, Stephen Shao and Trent Hagan, they really did a good job with letting us know that no one was more important than the team. That's why I think we were successful.
You mentioned how much the Marquette tennis program as a whole has improved over the last two years. How has that been able to happen?
I'm not really sure what happened five or six years ago, but I think that Steve Rodecap, who is our coach right now, and Raj Gill, who was our coach before Erik Martinez, and now Erik Martinez, they're really doing a good job. They really work hard to bring this program to a high level. People don't understand how hard it is to recruit players and bring a good player in their freshman year. There are top programs in the nation that struggle with that. They're doing a good job with that - last couple of years we had a good recruiting class, last year the guys improved a lot. We have two or three guys coming for next season. I think as I saw their results, they're good players and they can help us out a lot. It's a different approach. Even when I was in Alabama and experienced different coaching, this is more serious. You have to be serious. They're always pushing us to improve and get the maximum from you and that's why this program has improved a lot and will definitely improve in the future. When I graduate, it doesn't matter - I'm sure those guys that are younger now on the team, they'll take our spots and replace us in the best possible way.