Most everybody in the Big Eight region has heard of three-time All-America tennis player Eveline Hamers, unquestionably the top player in Kansas net history.
Hamers, a native of Meerssen, Holland, will, for the fourth straight year, play No. 1 singles for the Jayhawks, who open the indoor season this weekend at Topeka's Wood Valley Racquet Club.
KU faces Utah at 6 p.m. Friday and Northwestern at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Topeka facility.
New to the region, however, is Nora Koves, a freshman from Budapest, Hungary. She's penciled in at No. 3 singles.
"I travel all over the world," KU coach Michael Center quipped, asked how he corralled Koves.
"Actually I contacted her by phone," Center said. "Someone told me about her. She's having a good time here. She's a great player. In challenge matches this week, she beat Eveline and Rebecca Jensen (No. 2 singles). Nora has a tremendous amount of talent."
KOVES WILL be heard from in the future. This, however, is Hamers' final go-round at KU.
"She is the cornerstone of the whole thing happening," Center said of the emergence of his program. "She's a three-time All-American and will probably be four-time, which is unbelievable really. She's done everything you could ask. She's a great role model for the other players, a good student, an incredible player."
Hamers, a senior business major, is not planning on turning pro after the outdoor season.
"She doesn't like the lifestyle and travel," Center said. "She'll complete school."
Hamers is the top-ranked player in the NCAA's central region, while Jensen is No. 2. The doubles team of Hamers and Jensen is also No. 1.
"Rebecca and Eveline give us a potent one-two punch," Center said.
KU'S SINGLES lineup is completed by senior Renee Raychaudhuri, who will play No. 4, and sophomores Casey Cooley and Abby Woods who will fill the fifth and sixth spots, although not necessarily in that order.
"I think it's a great mix of seniors and young people," the coach said. "Sometimes if you have all seniors, they tend to lose focus. With this group, it's been my most enjoyable year so far as far as practice goes. I'm pleased with how they reported after break."
This year, the women's and men's outdoor seasons will conclude with the Big Eight championships in Leawood.
"I think it's always exciting to play the Big Eights close to home," Center said.