Neuman adds American perspective to tennis team’s global roster

Kalen Lumpkins, Falcon Media Sports Network Reporter

The BGSU women’s tennis team roster sports an international flair with players from seven different countries including Brazil (Leticia Fonseca), Greece (Ioanna Tsadari), and the Netherlands (Maru Poppe).

Hannah Neuman, the only American on the team, said playing on an inclusive team changed her tennis experience for the better.

“Having such a diverse team is a really cool experience to have,” said Neuman. “I get to learn a lot about their cultures, they get to learn a lot about mine, and it’s a good kind of different. It’s fun to hear what they like and dislike about America.”

She said the cultural exchange expanded her world view.

“It is given me the opportunity to hear about and try new things that are big in their culture,” said the junior. “It really is just great to think about how different cultures can be.”

First-year head coach Mike Bonnell said intangibles are more important than where a player calls home.

“I don’t care if they’re from the moon, if they have the right heart and soul then we want them on the team.” Bonnell said.

Neuman said Bonnell created an atmosphere that allows players to expand their game.

“He has been a great addition to the BGSU family. He is such a supportive coach and makes practices so fun,” said Neuman. “With someone who has a similar game style, we are able to experiment with different strategies that aren’t very common in women’s collegiate tennis.”

These experiments have shown positive results, as the Falcons have already eclipsed their win total from the 2021-22 campaign with several matches remaining. Neuman gained multiple accolades this season, including being a part of the MAC doubles team of the week with junior Lucy Furness (who hails from France, by the way).

Before Neuman stepped on the court for the Falcons, she lived more than four hours away in Naperville, Illinois, playing at Neuqua Valley High School and finishing in the top eight in the state in her senior year.

For the Neuman family, tennis continues to be a family affair. Her father played at Oklahoma State, her aunt played at Duke and her grandfather played at Illinois State.

“My dad was my coach and my grandpa coached my dad and my aunt, so everything I know about tennis and everything I have learned is from them,” she said.

While Neuman enjoys being an athlete, she also said she loves sports photography.

“It’s not so much a hobby as I intend to make it my career after college, but I will get out and photograph other sporting events whenever I get the chance.” Neuman said.

After gaining this experience from her activities and tennis career, she said she has one piece of advice for participating in college tennis.

“I would say don’t take anything for granted and make the most out of everything,” said Neuman. “College goes by so fast and in a blink of an eye, it’s gone. You will look back on these days and you want to leave here knowing that you made it everything you wanted it to be.”