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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Bou’s commitment speaks to tennis and course work

(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

The foundations of senior Julieanne Bou’s winning mentality can be traced back to a hotel room in Panama City, Panama.

Bou, a then-16-year-old, was rooming with famed Puerto Rican tennis player and Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig during the 2017 Fed Cup. It was there that Bou learned it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

The previous year, Puig was in the 2016 Summer Olympics women’s tennis gold medal match against Germany’s No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber. In the final set, Puig pulled off the upset.

“Nobody expected her to win. She was a complete underdog, and she beat all the best,” Bou said. “Every time I’m out there, even though I’m playing a super-ranked player or a school that’s supposed to destroy us, it’s like, ‘Why not me? Why not us?’ I can do it because she motivates me.”

Bou has played for Puerto Rico in the Fed Cup since 2015, an opportunity she has never turned down.

“I’ve never said no. Literally every single year I’m like, ‘Yes, anytime,’ because it’s playing for your country, playing for your people,” Bou said. “It’s the greatest honor an athlete can have.”

Bou said she plays her best tennis when wearing the red, white and blue of her home nation.

In 2016, Puerto Rico hosted the Fed Cup. Bou said it was her favorite tournament because the fans didn’t care about tennis etiquette.

“Tennis is supposed to be silent and proper. No, they were going, ‘Wow, there’s Puerto Ricans playing,’ and everyone’s screaming for you and honestly it was very fun,” Bou said. “Really nice to have a whole country supporting you.”

Bou grew up playing volleyball and tennis, but when she was 14, she had an offer to play at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in Texas. Because she could get scholarships for tennis, she decided to quit volleyball.

And, the scholarships came.

She took her talents to UConn, where she was a team captain for two years and earned two degrees in nutritional sciences and animal sciences.

But despite being a Husky, Bou had her eyes set on the Golden Eagles from the start, even touring at Marquette before committing to its Big East foe in Storrs.

One of her previous tennis coaches knew Marquette’s director of tennis and women’s tennis head coach Steve Rodecap, so she had a connection to the university, which she used when it came time to decide where she wanted to play in her final year of eligibility.

“I reached out to Rodecap last year, and he got back to me really fast,” Bou said. “Luckily we’re in the same conference as UConn, so they got to watch me during conference play.”

Bou arrived in Milwaukee as a nursing major, which has made it difficult to balance being a student and athlete.

“It’s definitely hard especially now with clinicals I have,” Bou said. “I don’t get to practice as much as you would want to. But, the coaches work well with me around the clock and adjust to make it work.”

Because of her rigorous class schedule, there are games she cannot travel to, like the team’s next match at Creighton. She also has an adjusted practice plan that requires her to work independently and stay in shape on her own time.

Associate head coach of the women’s team Dusan Medan said it has been a lot of work, but he admires her willingness to play.

“I have tremendous respect for her and her commitment to play the fifth year considering what she’s pursuing career-wise,” Medan said. “Her schedule has been extremely busy around the academics and everything that she’s been doing. Just a lot of respect that she wanted to play a fifth year and take advantage of that extra year of eligibility.”

Bou’s final year of play isn’t only impacting her, but also her teammates. She has a bevy of experience in different scenarios, something junior Lara Kaiser, one of Bou’s doubles partners, doesn’t take for granted.

“She’s obviously super experienced in doubles,” Kaiser said. “She can really calm me down and see the situation from the outside and just tell me what’s going on and what I can do better.”

Bou has earned accolades and picked up big wins in her career, but she has also used her winning mindset to bounce back from hardships.

Over the summer, she tore her labrum and had surgery in October. She was unable to play or practice during the fall and her final collegiate season was in limbo.

Now fully recovered, Bou has been reminded to cherish the time she has left whenever she steps onto the court.

“Starting this semester, my expectations for my fifth year were to just have fun and enjoy the privilege of being out there,” Bou said. “I’ve been playing some great tennis because I’m just calm out there and I’m grateful to play.”

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightMU. 

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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