Q&A with girls varsity tennis captains: Mimi Despotovic and Jillian Urgello


Jovana Kuzmanovic

Mimi Despotovic and Jillian Urgello working hard at practice on a hot sunny day.

Senior Mimi Despotovic and junior Jillian Urgello have been dedicated to playing tennis for DGS since both of their freshman years. This year they are both captains of the varsity team and have taken some time out of their busy season to answer a few questions about their experiences playing tennis.

Q: What are some lessons or values that tennis has taught you?

Urgello: If there’s something I learned from tennis [it] is that tennis is a lonely sport, but that doesn’t mean you are alone. I play singles, so you obviously are on the court by yourself, but when you turn around, you always see your teammates there for you and cheering you on. It’s like you are alone, but then they are also there with you, so you are not really alone.

Despotovic: One thing that tennis taught me was how to persevere and have grit when it comes to tough situations, and to know that over time, things will improve. We have a poster actually that hangs in our courts and it says,‘one day better,’ and so along with that, I just feel like you expect so much from yourself as you practice everyday thinking that new skills, new techniques will come so quick. In reality, as you go through the motions and just keep practicing, ‘one day better’ seems small, but once you put everything together it really is enough.

Q: What are your goals for the team this year?

Urgello: I feel something I really wanted to change about the team is making it more united because I feel like the past couple of years our team has had some parts were it’s divided. I feel this year my goal was really to try to bring the team together and create more meaningful relationships between the girls.

Despotovic: My goal at the end of the day is for everyone to improve, and get better and to play their best for themselves first and then for the team as well. I mean we win together, we lose together, and that’s the type of team we are and want to be. Obviously, we would like to keep winning and making accomplishments and continue pushing ourselves. At the end of the day, it’s about what we can do for ourselves and how much we can do all together as a team in order for things to work.

Q: What is your favorite memory from playing tennis?

Urgello: For me, it happened last year, last season. During the season, we have two overnight trips and one of them was to Champaign where it is an all doubles tournament. I played doubles with Kaylee Chang–she’s a freshman in college now–but it was just a really good experience because we were both so hyped and so loud. We had so much positive energy, and we ended up placing first and it was just a great time playing with her and just being with the team and everyone.

Despotovic: Winning conference is probably my best memory from last year just because we all worked so hard to get there. We were really determined to win and take everything home and that’s exactly what we did, and it was a really great feeling to see how all of our progress, all of our hard work really paid off and how not just one or two people won but everyone did. It was really awesome.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of tennis?

Urgello: Whenever I have really close matches and it gets super intense and just everyone is going crazy, there’s so much energy everywhere. Then I’ll hit a good shot and I’ll scream really loud and my teammates will just hype me up, so I think that’s probably the best part about playing.

Despotovic: There’s honestly no better feeling than acing someone during a match. When you just win the point and end the point in the same second, that’s really awesome.