Senior looking for breakout season

Florida A&M senior Deke Latreece Olagbegi has displayed leadership to her teammates, consistency on the court and growth as an individual in her pursuit to become a complete tennis player.

Olagbegi was sidelined by a groin injury while running toward the net in an attempt to hit a drop shot during her 2007-2008 freshman year.

After successfully rehabilitating, the Jackson, Miss., native has been a productive for Florida A&M increasing her total wins in singles matches from three in 2008 to six in 2009, and from three to 10 wins in doubles competition.

Olagbegi says the injuries she suffered during her freshman and sophomore years were setbacks that prevented her to be productive for her team, but sustaining the injuries pushed her to become better conditioned and evolve her game as a tennis player.

“I couldn’t move the way I wanted to and I had to make a full recovery, it took a few months for me to get back to 100 percent on the court,” Olagbegi said of the injury.

“The injury kind of drove me, I didn’t like sitting out there watching my teammates have to battle without me, since then I’ve learned how to completely take care of my body.”

Bhola Olagbegi, Latreece’s father who’s originally from Nigeria, earned a scholarship to play tennis on the collegiate level in the United States.

In his pursuit to play professional tennis, Olagbegi was able to make it to the Amateur Player’s tour but eventually had a knee injury that ended his tennis career.

While attending Lovejoy High School in Hampton, Ga., inspired by her father Olagbegi would go on to be named the team’s most Valuable Player in her sophomore and junior years.

Olagbegi says her father inspired her to become a tennis player and whenever he gets the chance he finds a way to fit tennis into a conversation between the two.

My father got to college in America by playing tennis so most of my inspiration to play tennis came from my father, he’s like my other coach,” Olagbegi said. “When my father gets a chance to call, all he talks is tennis, I say dad I did good in school and he’d say that’s great make A’s tennis is great!”

Junior Alexis Brown says that playing tennis with Olagbegi has strengthened their relationship as friends and is inspired by the leadership Olagbegi provides as a teammate.

“Latreece and I knew each other before we came to Florida A&M and we were friendly but were just teammates,” Brown said.

“Now I think our freindship has brought us so much closer and in a way Latreece would be my sister, as a teammate she’s very strong in doubles matches and to have someone with leadership roles in that area is a really great thing to have when looking up to someone.”

Florida A&M head coach Nikki Goldthreate says Olagbegi’s dedication to tennis has been a key factor in her development as a player and expects great things from Olagbegi.

“Latreece had grown since her freshman year and her work ethic has been good this summer, she’s come back in better shape and has the mentality to try and win a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title in her senior year,” Goldthreate said.