Women' Tennis Adds Hristova and Novakovic

November 28, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 28, 2012

NORFOLK, Va. - Old Dominion University women's tennis continues to improve their program as head coach Dominic Manilla announced that Nikol Hristova and Marijana Novakovic will join the Lady Monarchs. Hristova will join ODU this January while Novakovic starts in the fall of 2013.

"We are extremely excited about adding these two student-athletes. They will be a great fit with our team and program," Manilla said. "Both of their coaches have a similar style to ours. These two individuals will move us in the direction we're looking to go."

Hristova, a native of Sofia, Bulgaria, has won more than 10 National Junior titles in singles and doubles and was national runner-up twice. She reached the semifinals in singles of the 18 and under European Championships and advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles (partnered with current ODU player Aleksandra Mitrovska).

Hristova has been coached by Yulia Berberian, the coach and mother of the Maleeva sisters, three of the best players to come out of Bulgaria. Hristova now trains with the Bulgarian Tennis Federation.

"Nikol will make our lineup stronger at the top," Manilla said. " Last year we recruited the No. 2 ranked player in Bulgaria (CAA Rookie of the Year, Aleksandra Mitrovska) and this year we were able to bring in the No. 1 ranked player."

Novakovic, a native of Brcko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the No. 1 ranked player in Bosnia. Like Hristova, Novakovic has played in International Tennis Federation (ITF) Tournaments and World Tennis Association (WTA) Tournaments. She was a member of ITF Team Europe in 2009. She was a four-time champion in Bosnia and a regular member of the junior federation cup team.

"Marijana is a very hard worker who we think will have an instant impact in our lineup," Manilla said. "Her father is a coach and has philosophies that match ours. She is also a very good student that fits what we are trying to do in our program."

The signing of Hristova and Novakovic amplifies the rise of the Lady Monarchs, making it one of the best recruiting classes in recent memory. This is in addition to a pair of recruits in Mina Saygi and Ivana Vukovic that joined ODU this fall. Vukovic had a solid first semester winning her bracket at the UVA Invitational. The newcomers join a cast of returners led by senior Diana Ivanova, who defeated a pair of ranked opponents last season and junior Nika Khmolovska who won a singles title at the Tribe Invitational this fall.