How Katarina Kozarov Became an All-American
The All-American title is a rare recognition of athletes that are the “best of the best” in their respective sports. Star tennis player, Katarina Kozarov, is one of the few athletes at Furman who have been given this title for outstanding performance.
The Paladin had the opportunity to sit down with Katarina to talk to her about this honor and her tennis career. She maintains a positive and grateful attitude about how she got where she is today, and gave credit to her coach, Adam, and her fellow teammates. Kozarov explained how coach Adam Herendeen helped her to earn the title of the “Most Improved Senior in the Country” and how without the “motivation from her team,” she would not be competing at the level that she is now.
Beyond paying tribute to her support system, Kozarov described the attitude and training necessary to becoming an All-American athlete. She explained how she pushed through “years and years of hard work” to achieve her success in tennis. Kozarov came to the States from Serbia at 14 to pursue both her academic and tennis careers. According to Kozarov, European athletes are extremely dedicated to sports, and in most Serbian schools, tennis and school “don’t go together,” which is what encouraged her to come to the U.S. and pursue both. However, her academic and athletic career at Furman has not come without challenges. Kozarov described her difficult schedule, only getting about 4-5 hours of sleep a night from a combination of travels, school and training. When she did not have individual training every day, two hours of team training, weight training 2-3 times a week and practices, she would devote extra time to fitness and weight training. Kozarov believes a large part of her success is due to physical training. She joked how people would not expect “the slowest on the team” to become an All-American athlete, but with her work ethic and mindset of “never being satisfied” with her performance, she was able to make it happen.
Currently, Kozarov has a professional ranking that she received during her time at Furman. She recently returned from competing in Egypt, and is hoping to play in more tournaments to improve her ranking. With the emergence of COVID-19, most of the tournaments have been cancelled, but nevertheless, Kozarov continues to push forward with what is in her control through training and her strict protocols. Though her plans are not finalized, Kozarov may come back to Furman to compete again — and if she returns, the Paladins will welcome her back with open arms!