Standing in the spectator area at the Varsity Tennis Center, Ronit Yurovsky looked up at the ceiling. She had just been asked how she wanted to be remembered as her four-year career comes to a close, and she was exclaiming that she couldn’t believe her college career was almost over.
Then, Yurovsky paused, deciding how to answer. There are a lot of options to choose from.
In her time at Michigan, Yurovsky has earned a top-50 singles ranking in all three of her seasons, earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year and ITA Midwest Rookie of the Year in 2013, is a two-time Academic All-American and has earned three invitations to the NCAA Singles Championships.
But instead of all that, when Yurovsky’s long pause ended, none of those accolades made their way into her answer.
“I just want (people) to know that I competed so hard on the court,” Yurovsky said. “Every time I stepped on the court, I gave it my all. I played for this school and represented the block ‘M’ on my shirt, because that’s the only thing that really matters. I just hope people know that when I was out there, that I would have given everything that I have.”
Even before she arrived at Michigan, there has been a lot expected of Yurovsky — she was the 2012 NHSCA Senior Athlete of the Year for tennis. Now in her senior season, she has also had to take on a leadership role in addition to her job as one of the team’s anchors. After the 2014-15 campaign, the Wolverines lost three seniors: Emina Bektas, Sarah Lee and Kristen Dodge. All three were looked to as leaders of the program by everyone on the team, including Yurovsky.
With their departures, it was Yurovsky’s turn to step into the role of team captain.
“(Naming Yurovsky team captain) is not just because she’s our senior,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “Obviously she’s a great player, but she’s even a better person. She represents what we’re all about.”
This year, a new wave of younger players has entered the fray. Six of the eight members on the Michigan roster are freshmen or sophomores, including freshmen Brienne Minor and Kate Fahey, who — like Yurovsky — have earned individual national rankings in their debut seasons.
But part of the Wolverines’ success, both as a team and as individuals, can be attributed to the experience of Yurovsky. Her attitude both on and off the court have set an example for the rest of the team.
“She’s laughing, she’s happy, she keeps people loose,” Bernstein said. “The kids know once she steps on the court, she’s all business. But off the court, she’s just great to have around.”
Added sophomore Alex Najarian: “She is always wanting to help us do better on the court and off the court … She just wants the best for everybody around her in everything that she does, whether or not it seems like it’s in your best interest at the time.”
For a player who has had so much individual success, Yurovsky reflects most fondly on the success that the team has had in her time with the Wolverines, especially last year, when Michigan won the Big Ten Tournament Championship for the first time since 1997.
“That was pretty special when we finally won it,” Yurovsky said. “We beat Ohio State in the finals, which was pretty good. That was so memorable, because we were the (regular-season) Big Ten champs, but winning that tournament was pretty special.”
But now, Yurovsky’s time with Michigan is running out. With just four matches left in the regular season, it won’t be long until the Wolverines will have to move on. That won’t be easy. As evidenced by the way with which people in the program talk about her and her impressive resume, Yurovsky has left an indelible mark on the program.
“It’s her character,” Bernstein said. “She’s competed so hard for us, but it’s more the person that she is. I have complete trust in her, and you never doubt her intention in anything.”
That hard work and those good intentions are in the back of Yurovsky’s mind, too.
Back in the Varsity Tennis Center, as Yurovsky considered her ideal legacy, she added: “(That) I wasn’t going to walk off the court unless I gave it my all.”
In just over a month, the women’s tennis season will be over. Yurovsky will have walked off of the court for the last time, leaving a sparkling career behind her. And though her statistics may be forgotten, the example she has set and the impression she has left on her teammates and coaches is built to last.