With a father who played basketball professionally and a mother who played tennis competitively, senior Razorback Jovan Parlic started playing tennis at the young age of four. However, the path to playing for the University of Arkansas has not been an easy one for the Nis, Serbia, native.
“When I was growing up, there was a war going on in Serbia,” Parlic said. “So it was hard because there weren’t many people to play, everybody was struggling financially and traveling was difficult.”
Despite this adversity, Parlic had the drive and focus to continue playing tennis competitively. Parlic played successfully in Europe for years, breaking into the top 10 of the junior national rankings in Serbia.
“I’ve been traveling for tennis since I was 11 or 12,” Parlic said. “I played tournaments all over Europe. I’ve probably been to every European country.”
When he was 16, Parlic received a United States green card and moved to Florida. With this relocation came another round of setbacks. For his first few months in the U.S., Parlic lived with a friend as his family prepared for the move from Serbia. Trying to adjust to a new location and culture, Parlic battled with not knowing anyone and not having his family nearby.
But Parlic rallied yet again, attaining great success playing tennis for Palmetto Senior High School in Miami, Fla. During his senior season, Parlic reached the state finals in both singles and doubles and was named Miami’s Best Spring Athlete by the Miami Herald.
Due to his success in high school, Parlic was recruited by multiple Division I universities to play tennis; University of Miami, Virginia Tech and Louisville to name a few. But it was Arkansas that ultimately drew Parlic’s attention.
“I was recruited by a lot of schools and I think the difference about Arkansas is that the entire state is oriented towards this school,” Parlic said. “We really have everything we need and more here – from the coaches, from conditioning, and from the media. We also have some of the greatest facilities in the country and the fans are really great. “
Seeing plenty of playing time in each of his seasons as a Razorback, Parlic has become an integral part of Arkansas men’s tennis. In his inaugural year, he tallied the most wins out of any of the Razorback newcomers and finished with a winning 12-7 record in singles. In Parlic’s sophomore campaign, he posted an 11-6 record for the 2013 dual season and as a junior he recorded nine singles wins and three doubles victories in 2014.
The lone senior this season, Parlic looks forward to leading his team.
“It’s an honor to be able to be an example for the younger guys,” Parlic said. “At the same time, I think it’s a lot of responsibility. Last year we had a really good set of seniors and I will just try to emulate what they did. I want to show the new guys that if you work hard, good results will come from it.”
Last season, the Razorbacks fought to three league wins, a top 15 victory and multiple SEC weekly honors, the first such season with any of these feats in over five years. Parlic is confident his team can keep up this momentum.
“I want to help lead the team to the top half of the SEC and to the national championship this year,” Parlic said. “Right now we’re doing mostly physical stuff to prepare for the spring. We’re trying to push our bodies. Coach Jackson is pushing us mentally too so we stay sharp and gain confidence. Because the spring season seems like it’s far away, but actually it’s right around the corner.”
For more information on Arkansas men’s tennis, follow @RazorbackMTEN on Twitter.
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