Minarik makes impact in debut season


Mia Hennen

Freshman Kristof Minarik moves to greet the ball during his singles set against the Creighton Bluejays.

WSU men’s tennis Head Coach Denny Bryan first contacted freshman Kristof Minarik when he was in high school. However, Minarik kindly denied his offer to play at WSU. He was fresh into high school and wanted to focus on his friends and playing tennis at school. Minarik was not ready to leave his home.

Minarik grew up in Boldog, Slovakia. His whole world revolved around tennis. Minarik first picked up the racket at six years old. Since then, his career has taken off.

“My favorite memory was when I won my first national championship,” Minarik said. “I was 12 and that was the biggest moment for me.”

As Minarik grew in his tennis career, he continued to pick up more wins and score well in multiple professional tournaments. Bryan continued to watch his film and was determined to recruit Minarik before he graduated high school. After Bryan’s failed attempt to recruit Minarik, Assistant Coach Brett Forman decided to reach out for a second time.

“Speaking on the phone with him, I could tell he was a bright guy that was serious about academics and furthering his tennis career,” Forman said. “Danny spoke on the phone with him multiple times and after watching some film on him and discussing our ideas with him on his game, we decided it would be a great fit.”

After a few months of recruitment, Minarik announced he would be playing tennis for the Shockers in 2021.

“Kristof’s strengths on court include his forehand, his quickness around the court and his overall tennis IQ,” Bryan said. “He has aspirations of becoming a professional tennis player one day, and we are looking forward to helping him achieve that goal.”

Kristof Minarik talks with Head Coach Danny Bryan after his match against Omaha on March 3 at the Coleman Tennis Complex. (Sean Marty / The Sunflower)

Tennis was not the only factor when it came to leaving home. To continue playing tennis, Minarik had to leave his friends and family from Europe behind. Each summer, Minarik would go on road trips with his friend. They would just drive around looking for a new adventure to — spontaneously — go on.

Since moving to America, Minarik has adapted to America’s etiquette.

“The etiquette of people, they’re really talkative and nice and help me,” Minarik said. “Like back in Europe, they’re not like this. They do not interact with each other.”

Before joining the Shockers, Minarik had a career high APT singles ranking of 1,450 and a 1,119 ranking in doubles with the Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR) of 12.82 in singles and 13.2 in doubles.

“Kristof has looked very good thus far,” Forman said. “We expected him to step in and contribute immediately and he has done so. He is still building and we expect his best tennis this year to come. Our hopes of Kristof, the rest of the year, is he continues to work hard and focuses on the process of getting better. With that attitude in mind, we believe he will continue to succeed.”

Minarik is having an extraordinary freshman season with the Shockers. He is currently on a winning streak in singles and has only lost two out of eight matches in the doubles, against Tulsa.

“I really hope to continue my winning streak,” Minarik said. “So far, I am nine to zero, and I hope it will continue.”