Walk a mile in an athlete’s shoes

Ekin Gunaysu

Ekin Gunaysu, member of the women’s tennis team. Photo courtesy of Winthrop Athletics

Arthur Ashe once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination.  The doing is often more important than the outcome.”

Ekin Gunaysu is a junior political science major at Winthrop University, a member of the university’s women’s tennis team and an international student from Ankara, Turkey. Whether Gunaysu is working on her game on the court or in the library studying, she is working hard.

Gunaysu said that her daily schedule consist of attending class, training till dinnertime and then the remainder of the night is devoted to homework.

According to the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies there are more than 380,000 student athletes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and of that number each year approximately 3,000 international student athletes join the NCAA.

Gunaysu said that she decided to attend Winthrop because they offered her a position on the tennis team and an athletic scholarship.

Gunaysu’s coach said that she was interested in playing tennis for Winthrop before they even scouted her. “She wrote me an email expressing interest in coming to Winthrop, and I started the recruiting process,” said Alcides Carvalho, head coach of the Winthrop women’s tennis team.

Her player card says that she participated from 2006 to 2009 on the Turkish National Team and was ranked 2nd nationally in Turkey.  It is Gunaysu’s work ethic that emulates her success.  Carvalho said that she is a perfectionist.

“She is an excellent student and has helped her team win two Conference championships,” said Carvalho.

“She really doesn’t speak much,” said Rebecca Short, a classmate of Gunaysu.

Despite her shy nature in the classroom, Gunaysu excels academically. According to the Winthrop University website she earned a 3.64 GPA on a 4.00 scale during the 2012-2013 season and along with four other members of her team was commended by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for academic merit.



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