CAREER NOTES: Career-high ITA singles ranking: 13 (Preseason 1998)... Career-high ITA doubles ranking: 1 (15 times with Dawn Buth: five times in 1998: preseason, March 10, 24, April 7 & final; six times in ‘96; four times in ‘97)... 1996 & 1997 NCAA Doubles champion and 1998 NCAA Doubles finalist (all with Buth)... six-time All-American (1996- 99 doubles; 1998-99 singles)... four-time first team All-SEC singles performer... ranked No. 2 at UF for career doubles win percentage (128-15, 89.5%)... No. 5 for career singles win percentage (128-22, 85.3%)... No. 2 all-time at UF for doubles wins (128)... No. 1 for season doubles winning percentage (97.6%, 41-1 in 1996)... No. 2 for season doubles wins (41 in 1996)... No. 8 all-time at UF for singles wins (127)... winner of four collegiate Grand Slam titles... UF posted an impressive 120-3 record during her four-year tenure, which has included two NCAA championships (1996 & ’98), two NCAA runner-up positions (1997 & ‘99), three National Team Indoor titles (1996, ’97 & ‘99), four SEC overall regular season titles (1996, ’97, ’98 & ’99) & three SEC Tournament crowns (1996, ’97 & ’98)... in 1997, teamed with Dawn Buth and successfully defended the NCAA Doubles Championship, becoming the first doubles team in the 16-year history of the NCAA Championships to win two doubles titles, never mind consecutive crowns... two-time first team GTE Academic All-American... three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member... NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award winner... graduated from UF with a degree in manage-ment/ marketing in May of 1999.
AS A SENIOR (1998-99)
Singles: Season-high ITA rank: 13 (Preseason); Final rank: 16; Primary dual match position: No. 2... earned her third consecutive bid into the NCAA Singles Championships, but lost to Texas’ Sandy Sureephong 6-4, 6-2 in the first round... provided the clinching team point in UF’s NCAA round of 16 win over Vanderbilt’s Callie Breighton 6-2, 6-1... reached the finals of the ITA South Region Championships, but was forced to default due to a wrist injury... withdrew from the Rolex Indoor Championships because of injury... had a relapse of strep throat the evening before the finals of the National Team Indoor Championships and was unable to play in the title match against Duke... versus nationally ranked opponents: 11-4... in three-set matches: 5-0.
Doubles: Season-high ITA rank: 4 (Fall with Jessica Lehnhoff); Final rank: 8 (with Lehnhoff); Primary dual match position: No. 1... earned a bid into the NCAA Doubles Championships (with Lehnhoff) for the fourth time, where the duo advanced to the quarterfinals before bowing out to San Diego’s Zuzana Lesenarova and Katarina Valkyova 7-6 (7), 6-4... paired with Lehnhoff to clinch UF’s NCAA Semifinal victory over Duke with an 8-6 upset over third-ranked Karen Goldstein and Vanessa Webb... captured the ITA South Region Championship with Lehnhoff after a winning all five matches in convincing fashion, losing just 10 games... upset fourth-ranked Courtenay Chapman and Agnes Muzamel from Mississippi 8-0 in the ITA Regional semifinals... advanced to the semifinals of the Rolex Indoor Championships before losing 6-4, 6-4 to Georgia’s Marissa Catlin and Vanessa Castellano... captured the Gator Fall Classic title (with Lehnhoff) with a 8-2 win over teammates Stephanie Hazlett and Whitney Laiho... reached the semifinals of the SEC Coaches Fall Classic (Fayetteville, Ark.) with Baili Camino, losing 9-7 to Georgia’s 23 rd -ranked Grey and Knox.
Honors: All-American in singles and doubles... first team GTE Academic All-American... first team All-SEC at No. 2 singles ... second team All-SEC at doubles (with Lehnhoff)... SEC Academic Honor Roll... Rheau Stakeley Sportsmanship Award (team award)... represented the U.S. team versus Great Britian Oct. 27-31 in the Maureen Connolly Challenge.
AS A JUNIOR (1997-98)
Singles: Final ITA rank: No. 22; Primary dual match posi-tions: Nos. 3 & 4... advanced to the third round of the NCAA Singles Championships before falling to top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Mirela Vladulescu from UAB 6-4, 4-6, 7-5... defeated five nationally ranked opponents during the NCAA team and singles tournaments, including a first round 6-3, 7- 5 victory over BYU’s Eline Chiew, who was ranked No. 14... had surgery on her right wrist in mid-October and has come back even stronger... lost to teammate and doubles partner Dawn Buth in the finals of the Gator Fall Classic 6-2, 6-2, which was her inaugural appearance in a collegiate singles final... had to play three Gator teammates during the five singles rounds played at the Gator Fall Classic... boasts a career 38-1 record against SEC opponents in dual match action, with her lone loss occurring this season to Vanderbilt’s Kristen Radford 7-6 (5), 6-3 on April 4th ... 4-2 in three-set matches.
Doubles: Final ITA rank: 1 with Dawn Buth; ; Primary dual match position: No. 1 with Buth .. fell in NCAA Doubles finals to Cal’s Amy Jensen & Amanda Augustus 7-5, 6-3... clinched UF’s NCAA Team Championship first round victory with an 8- 3 win over Pepperdine’s Zsofia Csapo and Angela Lawrence... crowned champions (with two other teams) of the Clay Court Championship in October, where the Gator duo reached the finals until weather forced the cancellation of the event before the other semifinal match was decided... won the Gator Fall Classic after defeating teammates Green & Hazlett 8-4 in the final... first loss of the year came in the semifinals of the Rolex National Indoor Championship by Stanford’s Ania Bleszynski & Julie Scott 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6)... lost twice to No. 3-ranked Marissa Catlin & Vanessa Castellano of Georgia, 8-5 during the regular season and 8-1 in the SEC Tournament final... 91-8 all-time in doubles with Buth.
Honors: All-American in singles and doubles ... ITA Doubles Team of the Month for March (with Dawn Buth) after posting a 5-0 record... earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors for the second consecutive year... first team All-SEC at No. 3 singles & second team All-SEC for doubles (with Buth)... Dorothy Anderson Scholarship winner (combo of academics, character on & off the court)... Most Improved Player (team award)... ITA South Region Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award.
SUMMER OF 1997 Nickitas played in the main draw of the U.S. Open Doubles with Dawn Buth, falling to the No. 7-seeded team of Alexandra Fusai & Nathalie Tauziat 6-7 (13), 6-3, 6-2 in the first round... took some time off after the NCAA Tournament to vacation in California and Colorado... played in the A&P Classic in Mahwah, N.J.
AS A SOPHOMORE (1996-97)
Final ITA singles rank: No. 63;
Final ITA doubles rank: No. 1 with Dawn Buth; Teamed with Dawn Buth and suc-cessfully defended the NCAA Doubles Championship by defeating Georgia’s Michelle Anderson & Marissa Catlin 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the NCAA finals, becoming the first doubles team in the 16-year history of the NCAA Championships to win two doubles titles, never mind consecutive crowns... earned first team GTE Academic All-America honors... one of 13 women selected to the Rolex Collegiate All-Star Team... posted a 3-1 record in NCAA singles dual matches, falling to Stanford’s Julie Scott 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-2 in the NCAA Championship Final, which clinched the national title for the Cardinal... sported a 20-match singles win streak entering the NCAAs and won 26 of her last 27 regular season matches, with the lone loss coming to Scott 6-1, 6-0 on Feb. 23... dropped a tough 7-5, 7-6 (6) decision to Arizona’s Vicky Maes in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships... GTE District 3 Spring At-Large Academic All-American... earned a bid to the NCAA Singles Championship for the first time... earned first team All-Southeastern Conference honors at No. 4 singles & No. 1 doubles (with Buth)... received the team’s Most Improved Player award... reached the quarterfinals of the Rolex South Regional Qualifier and the quarterfinal of the SEC Coaches Fall Classic before losing to Mississippi’s No. 19-ranked Agnes Muzamel 2-6, 7-6, 6-4... her 6-0, 1-6, 6-3 victory over South Carolina’s Tobi Rakic clinched the SEC Tournament quarterfinal win for the Gators... named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll with a 3.68 grade point average in marketing... 3- 5 record versus ranked opponents... 3-3 record in three-set matches.
SUMMER OF 1996 Nickitas was one of six American collegiate athletes to participate with the inaugural USTA All-American Summer Team...played in several events, highlighted by an appear-ance in the main draw of the U.S. Open Doubles, where she and Buth fell in the first round 6-1, 6-2 to former Gator standout Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs.
AS A FRESHMAN (1995-96)
Final ITA singles rank: 48;
Final ITA doubles rank: 1 (with Dawn Buth); The lone rookie on the team made a tremen-dous impact for the Gators, adding strength to the doubles lineups...Captured a pair of grand slam doubles titles (both with Buth), including the NCAA Doubles title with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Texas’ Cristina Moros and Farley Taylor... Other Slam title was the Rolex Intercollegiate Championship, where the duo knocked off four straight ranked opponents en route to the crown...Won all three singles matches completed at the NCAA team championships (was leading 6-2, 5-4 in first round match against Oklahoma State’s Monika Wirthova when play was suspended)...Named the ITA’s national Doubles Team of the Month three times (Nov., Feb., & April)...earned All-America honors in doubles...One of six nominees for the prestigious Honda-Broderick Award for Tennis...First team All-SEC at No. 6 singles and No. 1 doubles...Recipient of the Neal Anderson Scholastic award, recognizing the highest GPA on the Florida team...Dubbed the “missing link” by the media in Florida’s NCAA Champion-ship quest...Posted a combined singles & doubles record of 76-6, including a 41-1 doubles record at the No. 1 doubles position and a doubles winning percentage of 97.6 percent which established a Gator single-season percentage record...Captured the Lady Seminole Classic, the Women’s Fall Classic and ITA/Rolex South Qualifier...Was 37-1 with primary partner Buth, but started the year winning four consecutive matches with Bonnie Bleecker and capturing the SEC Coaches Classic...Only doubles loss was to the Clemson pair of Woorons & Barrett (8-3 pro set decision)...Did not receive an invitation to the NCAA singles championships despite a No. 45 ranking...Provided the clinching team point in Florida’s SEC Tournament champion-ship victory with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 win over Vanderbilt’s Spencer Shelfer at No. 6 singles ...Won 24 of her last 25 singles matches, including 14 straight to end the year...1-5 versus ranked opponents (three losses were to Florida teammates).
PRIOR TO FLORIDA No. 1-ranked junior doubles player in the world and also among the top-10 junior singles players in the United States...claimed the USTA Nationals doubles title for three consecutive years (1992-94), while also winning the doubles titles at the 1993 Junior Italian Open, 1992 and 1993 Clay Courts and Nationals, 1994 Banana Bowl (Brazil) and the 1994 Paraguay ITF...swept both the singles and doubles crowns at the USTA Clay Court Nationals in 1993 and reached the semifinals in doubles at the 1994 & ‘95 US OPEN Juniors...also played in the Wimbledon Junior and the French Open Junior singles & doubles tournaments... member of the U.S. National Team...chose Florida over California, Texas, Stanford and Vanderbilt.
PERSONAL Full name is Stephanie Irene Nickitas...Daughter of A.J. Nickitas and Irene Athans...Born on April 8, 1977...A 1995 graduate of Saddlebrook Academy in Tampa, where she was the valedictorian of the class...Long-time juniors doubles partner was Texas’ Cristina Moros, where the two were the top-ranked juniors pair in the world...Nickitas & Moros (whom Nickitas faced to the win the 1996 NCAA doubles title) have played in the main-draw of the U.S. Open three times...practiced doubles with Chris Evert, and received a note from the tennis legend afterwards “thanking her for the doubles lesson.”... enjoys listening to music... recipient of the Sportsmanship Award at the USTA Clay Courts in 1992 and the 1993 Florida Tennis Assoc. Albert Carrington Balink Award... majored in management/marketing.