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February 22, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

BGSU women’s tennis player ‘serves’ as a relatable figure for college students

Drake Harlett
Ioanna Tsadari

On Bowling Green State University’s busy campus, senior Ioanna Tsadari may blend into the crowd, but really, she’s a division one athlete, more than 5000 miles away from home, who understands the struggles of being a student. 

Tsadari began at BGSU in the fall of 2019, coming overseas from Athens, Greece. Playing since she was six years old, she knew she wanted to continue pursuing tennis into adulthood. 

The idea of leaving her home country was a no-brainer for her, and her parents were nothing but supportive.  

“I’m very glad they took that step and overcame their fears,” Tsadari said. “I could see myself being away from my country, and I did it.” 

She said she has grown in many ways that wouldn’t be possible if she had stayed in her home country. 

One of the ways she grew was by learning to receive constructive feedback. 

“I didn’t know criticism and didn’t know that criticism can be constructive,” Tsadari said. 

Tennis was an individual sport for Tsadari, so the concept of teammates correcting her was new. 

“It has helped me so much to become the tennis player and the person that I am today,” she said. 

Tsadari learned the ropes from her teammates but just like so many other college students, she struggled with fitting everything into her schedule.  

Head coach, Mike Bonnell, expects his players, including Tsadari, to be well-rounded. 

“We want them to excel,” Bonnell said. “That means athletically, and of course academically and socially. When they come to Bowling Green, it means a lot.” 

Tsadari admitted that all of these were hard to maintain in her first few semesters. 

 “I think that’s a learning curve for everyone who comes to college,” she said. “You just have to adjust and learn how to manage your time.” 

There is more to Tsadari than just academics and tennis. She also enjoys singing, dancing and painting. However, the demanding schedule of being a student-athlete initially required her to ‘prioritize tennis and let that side of her go.’” 

The silver lining is that her hectic schedule inspired the fifth-year player to make time for the things she loves. Not only did she reclaim the things she loves, but added graphic design and photography to her free-time activities. 

“College actually helped me bring it back, because of learning time management,” she said. “That free time I had left, I would do things that made me feel good.” 

Tsadari said she hopes to be an example for navigating the college experience and student-athlete life. Over the spring semester, she will complete the season with the BGSU women’s tennis team, graduate from her MBA program and move back to Europe. 

“I am just so glad I came here. It’s bittersweet.” 

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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