Women's tennis adds highly-rated recruit, experienced grad transfer


Head coach Ramiro Azcui talks with then-sophomores, now juniors, Madison Appel and Natalie Whalen in February at a match against DePaul. This will be Azcui's second season as head coach.  Kinsey Johnson

After losing top players Madison Appel and Natalie Whalen last season, IU women’s tennis has two highly-touted replacements for the 2019-20 season.

On May 1, IU signed one of the top Romanian junior players, Alexandra Staiculescu. She ranked as high as No. 9 in the Romanian junior rankings and No. 35 in the Romanian senior rankings.

Staiculescu has a universal tennis rating, UTR, of 10.75 on a 16-point scale. Her highest UTR, which she achieved in August 2018, was 11.29, making her the highest rated recruit for the IU women’s tennis program since the creation of UTR.

“Alexandra is one of the top junior players in Romania and has extensive ITF junior and professional level tournament experience," Coach Ramiro Azcui said in a press release. “On the court, Alexandra is a fierce competitor, a great mover and possesses a highly developed skillset.”

Staiculescu played for the Romanian U18 National Team in 2017 and 2018 and won the National Championships in both years.

“We have no doubt Alexandra will make a great impact for us on the court right out of the gate,” Azcui said.

On Wednesday, IU announced it was adding a graduate transfer in Annabelle Andrinopoulos from the University of Colorado.

Andrinopoulos played No. 1, 2 and 3 singles last year for the Buffaloes, spending most her time at the No. 3 singles spot. In doubles, she reached as high as No. 20 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Like Staiculescu, Andrinopoulos also has experience overseas. She was a two-time nationals finalist and competed in the 2014 Australian Open Juniors. She also represented Australia in the World University Games in Taipei in 2017.

“As a veteran college player, we have no doubt she will make a positive impact both on the court and in the locker room for our young team this fall,” Azcui said in a press release. “We look forward to helping her finish her playing career on a high note.”

Andrinopoulos has one season of eligibility remaining.

IU finished 16-11 last season and above .500 at 6-5 in conference play, but it saw its season end with a loss in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to Iowa.

With the addition of Andrinopoulos and Staiculescu, the team now has eight players on the roster for next season.

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