Spring Signing Week '09: Bartnik In Like a Lion
by Ali Jones
, 8 April 2009
Travel always brings with it a few surprises: some bring home trinkets and pictures. Others rave about new foods and wine. For tennis traveler Nicole Bartnik, the people she's met, the countries she's visited and the memories she holds dear have helped shape her college choice.
Nicole wants to major in political science with an eye toward a career in international relations. And while she could go to any number of universities with her tennis (ITF all-time high of 86) and brains (3.91 GPA), Nicole has chosen to get a bite out of the Big Apple - yes, the city that never sleeps, where if you can make it there you can make it anywhere, home to Broadway, Wall Street and of course, the shrine of American tennis, the U.S. Open.
Nicole has committed to Columbia University in the City of New York, a school of academic renown and history, as well as location.
"I know a lot of people would love to be in Manhattan for four years, and this was a great opportunity to do so," Nicole says.
In addition to its unparalleled location, Columbia's coach, Ilene Weintraub, was a person to whom Nicole can relate very easily.
"Ilene is extremely enthusiastic," Nicole says. "You can tell she loves what she does, and that is a good person to be around."
In that setting, Nicole sees herself taking advantage of urban living, a set up quite different from her hometown of Bradenton, Florida.
Nicole and her family moved to Florida from California to pursue her older sister's tennis training. Nicole found that she enjoyed tennis competition as well and has shown natural tendencies for discipline, determination and drive - attributes that successful athletes possess.
"I knew Nicole was a fighter so I always thought she would go a long way," says IMG Academies Coach Jose Lambert, who works with Nicole and who also has worked with tennis greats Agassi, Courier, Seles and a young Tatiana Golovin.