The Mind of an Ole Miss Athlete: Tennis player Tea Jandric can ‘psych’ her opponents out on and off the court


Tea Jandric in her favorite habitat.

Dominik Olejniczak
Oxford Stories

If you want an inside look at the mind of Ole Miss tennis player Tea Jandric, the first thing you need to know is she  can ‘psych’ her opponents out on and off the court. This is the third year the Croatia native and psychology major has lived in the United States and attended the University of Mississippi.

She expects to graduate next spring and spends much of her time practicing for tennis matches. Her team began competing a month ago.

Jandric begins her day in class from 9 a.m. to noon. She eats breakfast at the Grill following a diet prepared by an athletic nutritionist. Her flexible schedule allows her to focus on tennis and school without getting overwhelmed.


Miss Jandric has to be on time everywhere, but more likely because she wants to be on time.

After classes, she walks into the new indoor tennis courts facility and meets teammates for an extra workout that lasts about an hour.

“It is important to be getting extra work on your own,” Jandric said. “This is what the best tennis players in the world are doing, and to be able to get just a little bit closer to their skill level, that’s how my mindset needs to be.”

None of her coaches are present during the extra workout. They do not even know about it. Afterwards, she eats again. Sometimes she has a prepared meal. Today she grabbed lunch at Newk’s.

“It is very important for me to eat well and regularly, because my body is my temple and I have to take care of it in order to play well,” she said. Even at the highest level, many professional tennis players get cramps quite often as their matches can last up to three hours.

After lunch about 1:30 p.m., Jandric takes a quick nap to reenergize for the afternoon practice and fitness. At 3 p.m., Jandric, her teammates and coaches gather.

“I love our attitude and energy during the practice,” she said. “We are pushing each other to get better each every day. You can really sense that during our practices.”

After practice, which lasts for about two hours, Jandric and teammates have 30 minutes to get from the courts to Gillom Center, where they finish the day with an hour of fitness.

“It is pretty hard after a long day and right after practice, but this is what we need in order to be prepared to compete in long matches,” she said.

At 6:15 p.m., Jandric heads to Kroger to buy groceries to prepare dinner for herself. She learned how to cook in Croatia, so her kitchen may be quite different from a typical American’s.

“College students need to be smart about their spending,” she said. “But I know how important it is for me to refuel myself after a tough day.”


For Miss Jandric tennis is always a fun part of the day.

Jandric said her ability to cook enables her to save money while nourishing her body.

Around 8 p.m., she begins doing her homework. She is an excellent student, and even though she has chosen a tough major, she earned a 4.0 GPA during the 2017/2018 fall semester.

“School is very important for me,” she said. “I know that it is very hard to make it to the top in tennis and live off it.”

Her goal is to graduate from Ole Miss with the best possible GPA and chase her master’s of psychology degree.

Before she goes to sleep, she usually reads a psychology book that she believes also helps her on the court.

“Our minds are a very unknown area of the human body,” she said. “We only know how to use 10 percent of it. If people figure out how to use 20 percent, it would already be an amazing jump forward, even though there would be still 80 percent which we are unsure how to use.”


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