Walking into the Billie Jean National Indoor Tennis Center in New York City, Mike Redlicki had achieved a lifelong dream. Winning the United States Tennis Association National Championship furthered that dream and launched Redlicki onto the world stage.
After attending Lake Zurich High School in Chicago and graduating from a K-12 program for his senior year in Florida, Redlicki accepted a tennis scholarship at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Redlicki succeeded for the Blue Devils, being named to the all-conference team in 2013 and earning ACC Academic Honor Roll in 2013 and 2014. Redlicki graduated from Duke in three years, earning his bachelor’s degree.
He still had two more years of NCAA eligibility and had a decision to make. Redlicki ultimately decided to spend those two years studying in Fayetteville.
“In comparison to other offers I had, I couldn’t turn this down,” he said.
Redlicki had seen success. His own brother, Martin Redlicki, had just won an NCAA doubles title for the University of California-Los Angeles. Martin is known as one of the best tennis players in college, at one time being ranked in the top 1,000 players in the world. Despite being Mike’s younger brother, Martin motivated him to reach new heights.
Redlicki said it was a risky move to come to Fayetteville, as he was succeeding at Duke and would have to sit out a year if he transferred. Redlicki had graduated from Duke University in three years and was well on his way to receiving a graduate degree. Head coach Andy Jackson agreed that graduating from any college while being a student-athlete is difficult, but not for Redlicki.
“He graduated Duke in three years, which is a pretty big deal … I couldn’t graduate in 30 years,” Jackson said.
Although Redlicki had not been with the Razorback program for the previous two years, he started off strong. During his first season at the UofA, Redlicki finished with a 15-6 singles dual record, including an 8-3 mark in SEC play and led the team with a 10-4 record against ranked opponents.
“Luckily my first tournament, I was able to win the whole thing, and that really got my confidence real high to keep working and see what I could do with this whole tennis thing,” Redlicki said.
That confidence received an at-large selection into the United States Tennis Association National Indoor Championship, where Redlicki narrowly defeated Ohio State’s Mikael Torpegaard, the nation’s No. 1 ranked player, in the final round.
He was also one of eight American college tennis players selected to play in the third annual American Collegiate Invitational at the 2016 US Open.
He finished the fall with a 17-2 record, including an 11-1 record against ranked opponents.
Redlicki said his success was brought on by Jackson’s guidance and leadership.
“Andy’s been instilling this value of not worrying about results, you know just working as hard as I could day in and day out, and understanding that the good things will come if I keep working hard and not worrying about anything else. Now we’re here,” Redlicki said.