Quebec native brings strong work ethic and mentality to team

Elisabeth+Desmarais+is+a+redshirt+junior+on+the+Marquette+womens+tennis+team+from+Quebec%2C+Canada.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics.%29

Elisabeth Desmarais is a redshirt junior on the Marquette women’s tennis team from Quebec, Canada. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

For those who grew up in Quebec, Canada, the most common sports to play while growing up are ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, swimming and boxing. However, for Elisabeth Desmarais, she found a love for a different court: tennis.

“I knew I wanted a school with a good tennis level and that would be a huge step up from what I am used to,” Elisabeth Desmarais said.

Desmarais said she chose Marquette and Milwaukee for its atmosphere and how well she connected with the players on the team during her visit.

“There are a lot of international girls which I thought was really nice and I really liked the coaches, Desmarais said. “Coach Dusan (Medan) actually came out to visit me back in Quebec City to see how I was training and that really meant a lot to me.” 

Desmarais said her game has changed quite a bit since arriving to the Brew City. Additionally, she said playing for a Division I school has sharpened her game and mindset.

“The most important thing is the mindset and confidence,” Desmarais said. “I want to do what I do in practice and put them into my matches for this season. We will be playing some big schools this season so that is very motivating and I think that as a team we are much stronger.” 

Associate head coach Dusan Medan said an area of Desmarais’ game he has been working on with her is her forehands and the physical competent.

“We are trying to get her to be more physical and aggressive because her game is bigger than a normal women’s college player. One thing I thought she brought to the table when I first saw her was her competitiveness. She definitely fit the criteria we were looking for when recruiting players, ” Medan said.

Desmarais said her strength on the court helped her to a memorable win against DePaul during her sophomore season.

“It was the first time we beat DePaul in a long time and I clinched the meet with that match,” Desmarais said. “We beat them on home court which was so great.”

Desmarais said she is hopeful to capture some big conference wins, such as the one against DePaul and plans on following routines in prepare for those big games.

“When we play here at home we are really well prepared and have a great set up and routine which helps me here on the courts with our trainers, doing the same warmups before matches is really important to me,” Desmarais said.

Being a singles player, Medan said Desmarais brings a high confidence level and mindset to the team which is something the team needs this season.

“I hope Elisabeth finds her way and where she needs to be in the lineup for both singles and doubles because she definitely deserves to be in it and it is important that she enjoys the season and competition,” Medan said. “She has a good group of girls around her to support her.”

Redshirt senior Natalija Popovic, who hails from Čačak, Serbia, has been a support system for Desmarais as both are international players on the team.

Popovic said since she can relate to many things with Desmarais — adjusting to Marquette, preparing mentally for matches and being away from family — it has led to both forming a close friendship.

“We have had a great relationship off the court since day one,” Popovic said. “We are together all the time and are there to support each other anytime we need advice or are struggling. I am very grateful that I met Elisabeth.” 

Desmarais’ hard work and mentality on and off the court has led her to being named one of the team captain’s this season.

“Elisabeth is nothing but a fighter on and off the court and a true team leader and a captain,” Medan said. “She wouldn’t be a captain if she didn’t check those boxes.”

Popovic said she can attest to her Medan’s comments.

“My sophomore year when Elisabeth came, I got to know her during her visit here. As a teammate, she is very hardworking and dedicated, a great leader doing the right things all the time,” she said.

Desmarais, who is in her fifth year in the program, said she plans to stay in Milwaukee post-graduation after she finishes completing her master’s in finance.

But until then, she said she is looking forward to what is to come for the remainder of the season.

“I am really excited to play this season and go up against some good competition from the Big Ten including Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana,” Desmarais said. “It is really motivating to prepare me for conference matches this coming year.”

This article was written by Hannah Freireich. She can be reached at Hannah.freireich@marquette.edu or on Twitter @Hannahhnicole14.