Having received offers from many schools, only one tennis team felt like a family for Emma Antonaki. That one team was Mississippi State University.
Antonaki, a freshman from Athens, Greece, did not even take a visit anywhere else, and it payed off as she qualified for the individual championships in her first season at MSU. She said she first heard about MSU through two Greek girls on the team, and they got her in contact with head coach Daryl Greenan.
"He flew to Greece and saw me play and I signed," Antonaki said. "I knew from the girls that the environment here is really good. It’s like a family. I had some offers from other colleges, but I didn’t visit them because I was pretty sure I was going to come here."
In her time at MSU, Antonaki has earned a 2019 Second Team All-SEC selection and a 2019 SEC All-Freshman team selection. She is also currently ranked No. 59 in the ITA rankings. Antonaki is preparing for the NCAA individual team championships in Orlando, Florida starting May 20-25.
"It is the same preparation, not that much different, because with a team we are working really hard.” Antonaki said. "Individually, I was on my own with my coach. So we can focus more on specific techniques and some stuff I need to improve."
Coming into the individual championships, Antonaki is 25-12 in single matches. She said her focus when she plays is just to be calm and play. “I just try to play like my everyday life. I try to be less stressed,” Antonaki said. “I think I face every win the same way, and I try hard for the next match.”
With the individual championships comes more learning opportunities for the freshman, but Antonaki said she has already learned so much from the season.
One of those is the difference of playing at the college level, which she enjoyed once the spring season started as she is now looking forward to the next year.
"The spring was different because we played together and we had so much fun," Antonaki said. "We are looking forward to next year. Individually, I learned many things because I’m more prepared now for the next year."