Tennis Feature Story: Michela Xibilia

Michele Xibilia standing with her teammates during practice.

Kenzie Eklund, Lifestyle and Culture Editor

Fifth-year UMKC senior, Michela Xibilia, never thought she’d find herself playing tennis at the collegiate level here in the United States. 

  Her love for the sport began when she was just five years old. Her dad, Michele, was part of a tennis club in her home country of Italy. As a child, Xibilia would tag along to practices and matches with her dad. After encouragement from her father to begin playing with a coach, she found her passion and never looked back.

  “In high school, I played volleyball, but it’s not the same,” Xibilia said. “So I just stuck with tennis. I have had my ups and downs for sure, but I fell in love with the sport.” 

  Xibilia played tennis professionally for a bit but suffered from an injury that forced her to take time to recover. She struggled to get back into the sport post-recovery, facing hurdles within her language barrier and financially, as she was all on her own in the U.S. 

  “Coach Hill was one of the first coaches to reach out to me, and I kind of felt like it was hard for him to communicate with me,” Xibilia said. “I think he had like a lot of athletes like that, so he was very understanding and just spoke really good about this team, and I just decided to come here.” 

  UMKC welcomed Xibilia with open arms, and she was able to find her place in America. During her time here in Kansas City, Xibilia has played in both singles and doubles matches for the Roos. She wrapped up her 2021-2022 season strong, winning three straight doubles and three straight singles match. 

  For the current season, the women’s tennis team is focusing on doing their best at practices and working hard for their goal of winning the conference. 

  “We have such a good team, and we know how well we can do,” Xibilia said. “We have so much potential, and we just need to believe in ourselves.”

  The women’s tennis schedule can be found here. Be sure to tune into the matches and keep up with tennis coverage here at RooNews. 

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