Tasic Embraces Leadership Role
April 11, 2014
Senior Dimitrije Tasic grew up in difficult times in Nis, Serbia, in the early 1990s and after four years at Indiana he has gained leadership skills and a strong educational background and he hopes to be able to give back and help his native country.
Tasic grew up amidst wars in Croatia and Bosnia. His father was in the army and away from home for long period of time.
His father, Ivan, played tennis and taught the game to his son when Tasic was eight years old.
Dimitrije admits he wasn’t very good when he first started playing, but eventually got better and played in tournament at the age of 10.
“I loved the excitement of winning and getting through difficult matches,” he said. “I started to play more tournaments and started to improve and win more matches.”
At the age of 16, Tasic was fully devoted to the sport and won his first national championship and earned a spot on the Serbian National Team. The next year he was part of the team that traveled to Italy and captured the Bronze Medal at the European Championships.
Tasic trained in Germany and France and played in tournaments all over Europe and initially decided he wanted to pursue a professional career. After some thought he realized financially it would be difficult and wanted to get an education by going to college in the United States.
IU head coach Randy Bloemendaal knew Tasic’s coach in France, who recommended Indiana. Tasic wanted to study Political Science and Economics and IU faculty member Elinor Ostrom had just won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
Tasic had previously been accustomed to competing by himself, but became invested in the team concept.
“I realized how important team tennis could be,” he said. “I realized in difficult moments you think about your team and that can help you. You can go beyond limits that you set for yourself and you can become better if you give yourself to the team.”
Fast forward to his senior year and Tasic has won over 80 singles matches, including the clinching match to give the Hoosiers a NCAA tournament win over Louisville in 2011.
Tasic has grown as a tennis player and a person and is a leader for the program, a responsibility he embraces.
“I see it as an enormous trust from Coach Bloemendaal,” Tasic said. “It is a big responsibility for me, but in a positive way. Once I was given that trust I wanted to give back as much as I could. It is an opportunity and responsibility I do not take lightly.”
“He has been a great leader for our team,” Bloemendaal said. “To watch him blossom as a leader and learn how to take care of some tough situation and organizing teammates with what they need to do to be successful. He has brought an excellent work ethic to our program. He has been a role model on and off the court and has helped others around him.”
Outside of tennis, Tasic is extremely dedicated to his studies as he is pursuing degrees in Economics and Political Science with minors in Russian and East European Studies and West European Studies. Tasic is the current Tichenor Award Winner, which goes to the highest male student-athlete GPA in IU athletics.
Tasic was raised with an emphasis on education and also on community. With his strong sense of community he has volunteered at the Shalom Center, a local homeless shelter in Bloomington.
“I enjoyed every class I took at Indiana and I think I really developed and learned a lot in my four years here,” Tasic said. “My studies and academics were equally as important as tennis during my time at Indiana.”
After graduation Tasic plans to pursue graduate work in political science or international affairs and wants to give back his native country of Serbia.
“I want to be able to help my country to not have to ever have to go through what we did in the 1990s,” he said. “It is a strong urge inside of me that I have to do something for my people. Balancing academics and athletics is not easy, but with strong motivation I believe we can go after things we might not think possible.”
Bloemendaal said he will miss Tasic, but knows he is destined for success.
“He is very intelligent and very ambitious,” Bloemendaal said. “I have enjoyed seeing him come in and go after his goals and expand his goals and inspire others in the process. Whatever career field he gets into I think he will excel and get to the top. He has been a great role model for Indiana University and the athletic department.”
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