North Texas Daily

Tranberg emerging as standout freshman on loaded tennis roster

Tranberg emerging as standout freshman on loaded tennis roster

January 24
13:05 2018

When you think of the North Texas tennis team, the first two names that come to mind are Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze — and for good reason. But there may be a hidden gem on the Mean Green roster.

Sille Tranberg, a freshman from Denmark, is already turning heads with early standout performances on the court this year.

Last semester, Tranberg finished with a 4-2 record and dominated in her collegiate debut with a 6-0, 6-0 straight set win over a University of Texas at Austin opponent.

Now, Tranberg holds the No. 4 spot in the lineup as the spring season approaches.

“[My opponents may have doubted me] a little bit in the beginning,” Tranberg said with a laugh. “But when I play, they recognize me as a threat. Hopefully I can get better and keep improving my game to have a strong season.”

Tranberg, like several other Olympic sport athletes at North Texas, made the journey to Denton from across the globe after seeing the opportunities available through the coaching staff and the rest of the athletic department.

She was the No. 7 ranked Danish women’s tennis player at the country’s highest division and won the under-18 singles, doubles and mixed doubles championship.

With such an extensive resume to her name, Tranberg was a top target for coach Sujay Lama and his staff. An instant connection with Lama made her college decision that much easier.

“She sent me an email, and we went from there,” Lama said. “I started calling her coaches, did some research and watched her tape. I felt like there was something special about her, so I flew to Denmark to see her then I was like, ‘Man, this girl’s impressive.’”

What makes Tranberg’s rapid rise in the sport of tennis even more impressive is that she did not start playing the game until she was 12 years old. Despite getting a late start compared to the majority of her competitors, Tranberg has progressed quickly.

The jump in competition from Denmark to the United States has only expedited that progress.

“It’s nice to have partners to practice with at the same level as me,” Tranberg said. “It’s just nice to have more competition during practice because it always makes you better.”

While the increased talent in Texas has helped Tranberg up her game over the last few months, she also brings a unique maturity to the table as a freshman.

Freshman Sille Tranberg, 21, returns the ball to a teammate during practice at the Waranch Tennis Complex. Tranberg was a champion in Denmark and is excited about the opportunities available on the court in the U.S.
Paige Bruneman

Tranberg is 21 years old and joins the roster at an older age than the typical freshman addition.

“I think she brings that calm to the team,” Lama said. “That maturity and that calmness and the focus that she has — I think it brings a lot of confidence to her teammates. I will enjoy having her for three more years. She’s everything and more, just like I thought she was going to be.”

While Tranberg joined the team as a talent primarily versed in singles’ action, she did have some experience in doubles play at the U-18 level in Denmark. The freshman pointed to doubles play being an area where she hopes to improve as the season progresses.

Tranberg will spend her time in the doubles lineup with fellow freshman Nidhi Surapaneni, who was a star on the court in India before joining Lama and company in Denton.

“I feel like we both have good senses of positioning and finding the spaces and staying in the point,” Surapaneni said. “We are both very confident with each other. I feel like we’ve had good teamwork since the beginning.”

Tranberg spent the majority of her tennis career looking up to Caroline Wozniacki, who also hails from Denmark and is currently ranked No. 2 in the world. That is a high bar to set, but with a tremendous work ethic already on display, Tranberg hopes to one day take her game to the next level.

“I would like to try to go pro one day, but for now I am just going to see what happens,” Tranberg said. “I think I am on my way to getting there of course. We get a really good opportunity to get better here with a lot of matches.”

In the immediate future though, Tranberg hopes she can contribute to what has the potential to be a dominant run through Conference USA with a talented Mean Green tennis squad.

“I hope we can win a championship in our conference,” Tranberg said. “My personal goal is just to keep improving and see maybe next year, next semester I can play in a higher position on the team. I think it was the right move to come here [to North Texas].”

Featured Image: Freshman Sille Tranberg, 21, poses after a practice at Waranch Tennis Complex. Tranberg was a national champion in Denmark and is excited about the opportunities available on the court in the U.S. Paige Bruneman

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Stefan Washington

Stefan Washington

UNT Advertising Major| NT Daily sports writer

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