There is nothing more important than communication for double teams in tennis. Communication is the tool that keeps a team running. It can also be the biggest challenge that double pairs face on the court.
For DePaul’s women’s doubles teams Hristina Djokic and Marija Jovicic, communication has been smooth from the start, and the couple has had four years to perfect it. Their journey together has not been easy, but these struggles only motivated them to work harder.
This season, the pair went 5-3 in the doubles competition and were named the Big East Females Doubles Team of the Week on March 10th.
“We’ve really developed our game every day,” Djokic said. “We thought about how we can do better every day to improve our tactics, and in the end we succeeded.”
Djokic and Jovicic were first paired together as a doubles team in the 2018-19 season, when Djokic was a freshman and Jovicic was a sophomore.
The chemistry between the pair was instantaneous and they won in their first match together, a 6-4 win over Ohio State on November 2, 2018. However, their time together was short-lived as an ACL injury knocked Djokic out of that match and the rest of the season.
Djokic and Jovicic were reunited in the 2019-20 season and had an immediate impact for the Blue Demons. The pair won 10 out of 11 matches and won seven in a row before finishing with a record of 10-4.
“Tina and [I] have this special connection in doubles, ”said Jovicic. “We played the first time and it just feels very good on the pitch from match to match and it keeps getting better and we keep finding ways on how we can improve our doubles and what we “We have to do better what we have to stop doing. We are pretty good at giving feedback to each other.”
Djokic missed the entire 2020-21 season with yet another ACL injury. However, she and Jocivic reunited as a team this season, opening with a 4-2 win over Bradley on January 21st.
“Two ACL injuries were not an easy thing to go through,” Djokic said. “But here I get the Doubles Team of the Week, so it’s great.”
Djokic and Jovicic have a relaxed connection that flows from the pitch and into their daily lives. They have known each other for years, which has helped them get their team going and build their communication to what it is today.
The two can read each other’s body language and know what the other needs to do before doing so. They trust each other and the decisions they make, which is key in close game situations where every move matters.
“They’re the type of team that you do not have to babysit,” said head coach Marie Arce. “They know what they’re doing, they know how to get it done, and they want it for themselves and for the team, so it’s nice from a coaching standpoint that they’m pretty self-sufficient.”
A big part of the communication between them is what language they speak, which is always Serbian. For Djokic, who is from Serbia, and Jovicic, who is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is a different nature for them to speak Serbian and allows them to speak in a language they are both familiar with.
“It’s beautiful, especially when the opponents do not understand it,” Jovicic said. “We can just talk across the field.”
However, the pair get annoyed when their opponents also understand the language and they are forced to change their game plan.
When it comes to doubles competitions, all factors in the game depend on the pair and their ability to communicate. For Djokic and Jovicic, their years as double partners may have been affected by injuries or a pandemic, but their trust and connection have continued to grow stronger.
“It’s hard to control your emotions on the court when you play singles. When you play doubles, you now have two people, ”said Djokic. “It’s never going to be perfect, we’re never going to say, ‘I’m so ready for this fight,’ so we always have to find different ways to get around it, how we both feel. level, we can every match. “