International tennis duo works its way toward nationals

By Joe Pratt | Broadcast Reporter/ Anchor

Tennis relies heavily on teamwork, just as any other sport. That is what Baylor women’s tennis seniors Alicia Herrero Linana and Mel Krywoj believe is the most important aspect of having a superb doubles record.

“Playing with her [Linana] this season has been great,” Krywoj said. “I think we bring good energy on court, so that helps us and helps the team a lot.”

The pair arrived at Baylor back in 2018 and are now both in their senior seasons. They played their first doubles matches together during the 2019-20 season, and finished up the season with a record of 5-1. It all started on Feb. 8, 2020 when they hit the doubles court for the first time in a collegiate event. Baylor won the event 6-1 overall, and the Krywoj-Linana duo defeated a University of Nebraska tandem 7-6, 8-6 in a tiebreaker victory. They have accumulated an impressive record of 37-11 over the years.

“I think we worked a lot inside and outside the court with our relationship and I think that being closer outside the court is helping us play well inside the court,” Linana said.

This year, Krywoj and Linana reached the highest point as a team. The International Tennis Association listed them as the No. 1 doubles team in the nation on Feb. 24. A win over Mississippi State University boosted the team from No. 17 to the top spot.

However the doubles team is not limited to the tennis court; the two are roommates in a primarily spanish-speaking household. Krywoj is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and Linana comes from a different hispanic nation in Manuel Valencia, Spain. They are two of seven international players on the roster out of 10 total athletes. Living together has brought them closer off the court and improved their chemistry on the court.

“We spend most of our time together, we hang out a lot,” Linana said. “I think we were really open, we have a really open relationship where we can talk about everything and we’re really close.”

The roommates continue to shine on the doubles court and have high hopes for themselves and the rest of the team this season.

“I think everyday we’re trying to get better and see if we can get into nationals one day and try to play against the best doubles teams in the country,” Linana said.

Before then, Baylor (13-6) takes on Kansas State University at 3 p.m. Sunday at Hurd Tennis Center to kick off a three-game homestand to wrap up the regular season ahead of the Big 12 Championship starting on April 21.