Phoebe Walker's journey to collegiate tennis involves almost as many frequent flyer miles as hours spend on the tennis court. But the Australian import has no regrets about her decision to come to Iowa.
"I'd never heard about Iowa before I came, or Cedar Falls, so I looked it up on the Internet, and it had pictures of snow, so I had this beautiful image of Cedar Falls and the snow in the wintertime, so I was like, 'All right, I'll come, I'll do it,'" Walker said.
Since then, Phoebe has progressively grown into one of the best women's tennis players in University of Northern Iowa history. But it's taken more than a tennis career to keep Phoebe in Iowa.
"There's something about the Midwest and something about the Midwest people, so it's the people here that have made the experience as well," she said. "But then, I mean, at home I've never run through a corn field or anything like that. For what it is, Cedar Falls -- there's something special about it. I like it here."
"I look at Phoebe when she started here and when she was a freshman, and I look at her now and she's matured so much," said UNI Tennis coach Mariana Cobra. "She actually knows exactly what she wants to do and she has goals, and it's great to see that in her."
Cobra hails from Brazil, which has helped form a bond both on and off the court for these international imports.
"Because she's international, she'll understand things a little better than I did," says Walker.
"Anything I need, I know she's going to help me, and she knows the same thing about me," she said. "So I think having that trust relationship is probably key for us to be so good together."
There are still plenty of adjustments in coming to America.
"The biggest thing I've noticed is when I'm on the phone, people actually have to get some of my friends to interpret for me on the phone, because they don't understand what I'm saying," Walker said. "The Americans are saying I sound Australian and the Australians are saying I sound like an American. I have no idea, but apparently I'm losing it."
But Phoebe has shown that despite the accent, she can feel right at home in Cedar Falls.
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