All-Calhoun County tennis: Donoho standout dominates in first season at top of lineup
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Jul 26, 2013 | 3265 views |  0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Donoho's Nina Bidikov wound up with a 10-1 singles record in the regular season. She finished second in singles and No. 1 doubles at the Class 1A-3A, Section 4 tournament. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Donoho's Nina Bidikov wound up with a 10-1 singles record in the regular season. She finished second in singles and No. 1 doubles at the Class 1A-3A, Section 4 tournament. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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ANNISTON — Nina Bidikov wasn’t new to the Donoho girls tennis team this past spring, but she was in a new position.

After spending the previous season as the No. 3 player in the singles lineup, the sophomore moved up to the top spot in 2013.

“We had challenge matches and they played the person ahead of them,” Donoho coach Farley Fink said. “Last year, she was No. 3, and this year, she beat the No. 2 player and No. 1 player so she became No. 1.”

Earning the top spot on the team was just the beginning for Bidikov, who helped lead Donoho to sixth place in the Class 1A-3A state tournament.

She wound up with a 10-1 singles record in the regular season. She finished second in singles and No. 1 doubles at the Class 1A-3A, Section 4 tournament. At the state tournament, she reached the quarterfinals in singles.

“She has a variety of shots. She can hit it deep and hard or a deep lob,” Fink said. “She’s a consistent player that can use powerful shots to finish the point off. She’s a versatile player that’s aggressive and determined.”

The trip to state wasn’t Bidikov’s first. She won the No. 4 singles division at the high school state tournament while still in middle school.

As for playing No. 1, Bidikov said, “It was pretty exciting, but until I started playing I didn’t realize how challenging it was. I was kind of nervous at first, but I guess I got over it.”

Fink said that what helped Bidikov accomplish what she did this season is that she plays up to her opponents.

“I’ve got some goals so I’m going to work very hard to reach them,” Bidikov said. "Now that the season is over I’m going to play year-around tennis like I used to. I just want to set myself up to do really well.”

Bidikov added she prefers singles over doubles because “it’s all on you and it’s your own game.”

“But doubles are sometimes a lot of fun because you have someone to play with,” she said. “There’s also help if you’re not doing well that day.”

Already working toward her junior season, Bidikov said the biggest thing she’s looking to improve is her backhand shot. However, Fink doesn’t think it’s improvement that needs to happen as much as it is playing with a different mindset.

“I’m confident in her backhand,”Fink said. “It’s not that she doesn’t have a good backhand, it’s that she has to get game confidence in it. I think her net game could improve. Consistency is always going to vary. At a small school, you play the sport in season (and not at other times). In the past, we’ll have girls walk onto the court in February not having picked up a racket since May of the year before. She just needs to be more consistent and get confidence.”

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star
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