Fuduric Sisters Compete in the Orange & Jr. Orange Bowl Tennis Tournaments

12/8/21

Sisters Marina and Lucia Fuduric remember the early days of their tennis careers. Their parents, Wendy and Joe, registered them for tennis camps at a local country club in Ohio. The sisters, who are now 16 and 14, remember ending those early tennis days with time in the pool after training at ages five and four.

As coaches quickly noticed their athletic skills and abilities, time on the court soon transitioned to private lessons. At 13, Marina took her tennis and academic journey from Ohio to South Carolina at Smith Stearns Tennis Academy, a longstanding partner with Laurel Springs School. Lucia joined her two years later.

For the Fuduric Sisters, this is a culmination of striking a perfect balance in life that allows them to chase their athletic dreams.

And, this month, the sisters are embarking on a tennis adventure of epic proportions—both girls are competing at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships in Florida. It's a self-described "big opportunity," where Lucia will compete in the Jr. Orange Bowl Division 14s and Marina in the regular Orange Bowl 16s.

Finding Balance Between Education and Their Big Opportunity

As our daughters’ passion for competing at a higher level in tennis grew, we decided to attend top-notch tennis academy, Smith Stearns,” says Wendy. “More importantly and just as difficult was the search for an education solution that matched their desire to excel academically and challenge themselves with high-level coursework. Thus far, Laurel Springs has fit the bill, allowing uniquely customized scheduling while they both continue to push to improve their game on the tennis courts.”

Marina completed Smith Stearns high school coursework during her first year there. The tennis academy then recommended Laurel Springs School, and she looked into it further. It matched her plans and goals to succeed on and off the tennis court. Lucia also enrolled in LSS when she started the tennis academy.

Their LSS courses have allowed them to set and achieve personal goals and learn better time management techniques. Each has also found their academic interests grow—Marina within math and English and Lucia within science and social studies.

I didn’t like missing school with tournaments,” Lucia says, as the LSS asynchronous structure allows her to work ahead when it fits into her schedule. She further adds that the LSS structure enables students to, in some ways, to “be your own teacher.”

That's not to say that LSS teachers aren't fully present. Quite the opposite, in fact. In addition to their academic involvement, the girls' teachers wished them luck leading up to tennis tournaments and talked about their outside interests.

Practice + School + Practice + School = Flexibility

The flexible class schedules offered by the Laurel Springs School model are essential to balancing the sisters’ training schedules. Marina and Lucia start their day at 6:30 a.m., with texts back home as they prepare to be on the court for two hours of tennis practice by 8 am.

Their schoolwork follows morning training. Lunchtime brings calls and texts to family members. After which their two-hour afternoon tennis practice begins, followed by an hour of fitness training, including weights, core work, sprints, agility, bodywork, or distance running.

Dinner, any remaining homework, and an evening routine, including final calls and texts back home, round out their day before they go to sleep with alarms set. The weekends include two hours of tennis practice and church on Saturdays with a rest day on Sundays.

As Marina and Lucia reflect on their journeys as Laurel Springs' student-athletes, they are thankful they have each other. They readily admit they push each other with friendly competition while sharing warm-up time and competing as doubles. It is a journey they started individually yet together in those early country club tennis days.

Both girls said they have goals to play in college and beyond. It is a journey of two sisters who keep working hard academically and athletically. When asked if they have words to share with other students who are also training and see athletic success in their future, Marina says it all comes back to heart and effort.

You can reach goals as long as you love it and put all the work in,” says Marina.