For Sven Lalic, the end of his collegiate career did not signal the end of his involvement with college tennis. He has stepped into a new role this season.
The Bosnian native, who graduated at the end of last season, can still be seen pacing tennis courts, albeit along the sidelines, as he stepped into the role of a volunteer assistant coach.
Lalic, who graduated with a degree in economics and a minor in sociology, brings a different perspective to the coaching staff. Both Head Coach Jeremy Wurtzman and his former teammates said they appreciate what he brings to the table.
“Sven’s done a tremendous job of being a great on-court coach,” Wurtzman said. “Each day in practice, he really helps the guys improve and develop their games.”
Lalic may have made a seamless transition from player to coach, but it was something he had in mind well before the end of his college career.
Lalic already had previous coaching stints while he was still a player and spent the fall as a volunteer assistant coach with IU.
“Tennis is definitely my passion, and I think I learned a lot through my college career playing in different academies with great coaches,” Lalic said. “Now working with Jeremy and Mike, I can develop myself even better as a coach and how to help guys in the future.”
His former teammate and good friend, senior Daniel Bednarczyk, said he appreciates the tips he gets from Lalic. Bednarczyk also said Lilac, having just finished his playing career, has a fresher perspective of what a college player may be going through during a match.
“He brings the perspective of a player. He just finished playing college tennis, and he knows a lot, and he’s played a lot of people that I’m playing,” Bednarczyk said. “He played higher up last season and was playing in the position that I’m playing now.”
Bednarczyk said he feels Lalic understands when he’s facing a problem, especially during matches, and Lalic helped him overcome some hurdles in matches.
“Against Chris Diaz from Ohio State, he saw holes,” Bednarczyk said. “When you’re playing the match you sometimes don’t notice the simple things because sometimes you’re clouded when you’re playing, and Sven pointed these out to me.”
Lalic, who spent his senior season as captain, was already respected as a leader during his time with IU. The team was happy when he stepped up and came back in a different capacity, Bednarczyk said.
“Sven was definitely a leader,” he said. “In fact, he fights a lot for the team when he’s playing. It’s important to give everything when you’re a leader, and he really stepped up in his role.”
The love affair between Lalic and tennis does not seem to be going away anytime soon, especially because Lalic said it is difficult to step aside from something that he has been doing for 16 years.
Lalic is preparing himself for graduate school and intends to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. However, he is also looking for a program that would allow him to continue his association with the sport that he loves.
“My next goal is to keep on coaching as a grad assistant or an assistant coach in some college program,” Lalic said. “Tennis is a learning and teaching process all your life. You always try to help people around, and you try to help yourself and people get better as a player and as a coach.”
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