The University of Iowa

In the news: Poland native Smietana comes to Iowa for better opportunity

February 5th, 2019

Iowa's Piotr Smietana prepares to serve during a men's tennis match between Iowa and East Tennessee State on Friday, January 25, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buccaneers, 4-3.

By Cody Smith, The Daily Iowan

Sophomore Piotr Smietana came to Iowa with one goal in mind: to improve his tennis skills.

The underclassman came from Krakow, Poland, to continue his tennis career when it looked like his time was up.

For perspective, in Poland, there aren’t many opportunities to continue a tennis career once the player reaches 18 years of age. There’s no team tennis, no coaches to prepare them for a professional career. So unless there’s lots of capital to spend for training or sponsorship, it’s really unlikely to continue a professional tennis career. And Smietana didn’t have either.

The Polish star started playing tennis at the age of 5 with influence from his father. By the age of 10, he was competing in top-notch tennis tournaments all over Europe. He traveled with his father to such places like Czechia, Russia, and Germany to see how he stacked up against the competition.