Iowa tennis player Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell prepares for her final year as a Hawkeye

Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell has been a star for the Iowa women’s tennis team since coming in as a freshman in 2016.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s Elise Van Heuvelen Treadwell celebrates a point during a women’s tennis match between Iowa and Rutgers at the HTRC on Friday, April 5, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 6-1.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

In the fall of 2016 at the University of Minnesota’s Gopher Invitational, Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell took the court for the Hawkeyes for the first time. Since then the senior from Seaford, East Sussex, England, has spent the last four years as the Iowa women’s tennis team’s ace.

In her four years for Iowa, van Heuvelen Treadwell ranks eighth in program history in singles wins (76) and tenth in doubles wins (68).

“I had no idea what to expect coming into college,” van Heuvelen Treadwell said. “Freshman year was a lot of learning and growing.”

By the end of that year of learning and growth, van Heuvelen Treadwell had finished with a 13-9 singles record in the No. 1 spot, and a 16-5 record in doubles. She was named Big Ten Freshman Player of the Year and received her first of four All-Big Ten honors.

After a stellar freshman campaign, van Heuvelen Treadwell’s win percentage in the No. 1 position in her sophomore and junior years finished around 50 percent in both singles (16-15) and doubles (11-13). When moved down to the No. 2 spot in the lineup those years, she displayed dominating tennis that earned her two more All-Big Ten honors.

“I honestly was not too happy with my sophomore and junior years because I feel like I should be getting much higher than that .500,” van Heuvelen Treadwell said. “I had some tough situations with an injury, but I knew coming into my senior year what it took to win those matches.”

This past season, van Heuvelen Treadwell finished with a 10-1 singles record, won her only match against a conference opponent, and received an ITA central region senior player of the year award to go along with a unanimous All-Big Ten selection.

“I have played a lot of the girls twice now, and I have a pretty high percentage of winning the second time after I lost to someone the first time,” van Heuvelen Treadwell said. “I had this vision that I should be winning every match during my senior year.”

RELATED: Van Heuvelen Treadwell named unanimous All-Big Ten selection

Van Heuvelen Treadwell said that the mental side of her game is something she has put a lot of work towards during her four years at Iowa. Working on building self-confidence, improving her leadership skills, and becoming more comfortable in uncomfortable situations on the court have been her main goals for the past four years.

“She has always been very talented but has had to work on putting the pieces together when she has been playing a match,” head coach Sasha Schmid said. “Sometimes you do not realize when someone has this much success or plays at the No. 1 spot that they might have to fight through a lot of doubt, and Elise was honest about that.”

Schmid said that she wants to see her veteran star show off her talent on a national scale this upcoming year.

“I think it would be great for her to make NCAA’s in both singles and doubles,” Schmid said. “I think she really should be someone that competes at the highest elite levels of college tennis because she is that talented, and I think that is really where she belongs.”

Like most seniors, van Heuvelen Treadwell believed that this past season was going to be her last in college tennis. Now with an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, she has an extended period of time to think about what happens next in her tennis career after hanging up the Hawkeye colors.

“It has always been a goal since I was young to play on the pro tour,” van Heuvelen Treadwell said. “It takes a lot, but I have been taking a lot of steps these past couple of years to give myself an opportunity when I graduate.”