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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Amiable Annas

 
 

Anyone who has attended a women’s tennis match in the past two seasons will tell you: Anna Blagodarova and Anna Lubinsky are a passionate pair. Their powerful serves and quick reflexes baffle opponents as they shout with gusto, “Come on!” each time a serve is not returned. Blagodarova and Lubinsky share an intensity that makes them successful on the court, but they have many things in common off the court, as well.
Besides sharing a first name, Russian heritage and a passion for tennis, Blagodarova and Lubinsky enjoy being in class with their fellow students.
“I think the most important thing is not to distance yourself from other students,” Blagodarova said. “Sometimes it’s hard, you’re tired, and the last thing you want to do is socialize, but if you come there in a good mood, people want to talk to you, and you just strike up a conversation.”
Lubinsky also enjoys the academic side of Texas A&M. She is pursuing a degree in finance.
“I spend a lot of my free time studying, but I really enjoy school and the challenge of working toward a goal,” Lubinsky said. “It’s tough, but it’s definitely rewarding to do well.”
Blagodarova and Lubinsky also share a deep respect for each other and for their teammates.
“One of the reasons why I came here is because the team is so easy to get along with,” Blagodarova said. “It wasn’t hard to get along with Anna. She’s one of those people you can talk to if you have any problems. She’s a really genuine person and I look up to her a lot. And the team chemistry is so good. All of us get along so well.”
Lubinsky agrees that good chemistry between teammates is motivating. That chemistry is unmistakable when Lubinsky plays on court 1 and Anna plays next to her on court 3.
“I love playing next to her,” Lubinsky said. “She fires me up so much. We just have to look at each other and we know, ‘Come on, right here!’ We don’t even have to say anything. I love her intensity. It inspires me.”
But there is a deeper meaning behind the desire that drives these Aggies to succeed. They fight for each other and for those who went before them.
“I love my team, and I’m just so blessed to be with them and fighting for them,” Lubinsky said. “Our strength coach said that on this very ground (upon which the tennis courts are now built), Earl Rudder, when he stormed the beaches at Normandy, this is where his group practiced for that day. This is where he trained his troops. So our coach told us, ‘This is your time, you are the troops, this is your time together,’ and so this is like hallowed ground, so it makes this even more special.”
Some students may find it difficult to look at an athlete and see just another student, but take one look at Blagodarova and Lubinsky and one will see two lively ladies who love being Aggies.
“Tennis or not, I would have come to A&M,” Lubinsky said. “I love this school.”

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