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Panther No. 1 has love for art as well as tennis

This story courtesy of the Middlebury College Sports Information Department.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College All-American men’s tennis player Lubomir Cuba, who helped the Panthers win the 2018 NCAA Division III championship, found a love for art and drawing at an early age. Las month he graduated from Middlebury with a degree in economics.
The Massapequa Park, N.Y., resident recently sat down for an interview with the Middlebury College Sports Information Department.
Q: How did develop your love of art?
A: Many people don’t know that I have a strong interest in art, specifically drawing and painting. My grandfather made a living as an artist after he retired from playing professional soccer, and it has been an interest of mine ever since I could hold a pencil. I have turned it into a hobby that takes my mind off the daily stresses of life and helps keep me calm. I really picked up the pencil and brush a lot during finals and it allowed me to decompress and do well on those tests.
MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE GRADUATE Lubomir Cuba loves the arts as well as tennis. He drew this cheetah as a 6th-grader.
Photo courtesy of the Cuba family
Q: What drew you to Middlebury?
A: After I graduated from high school, I was fortunate to spend a year on the University of Michigan’s men’s tennis team. It was an amazing experience while there, but I ultimately wanted a tighter-knit community where I could develop deeper relationships. This search narrowed my search to several smaller schools, mainly back closer to home, that excelled in both academics and athletics.
Middlebury became a clear top choice, as I really liked the tennis team and the coaches, the campus and the academic reputation. I saw Middlebury as a school where I would have the potential to be a national title contender on the courts and get a quality education at the same time.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I was fortunate enough to be a volunteer at a children’s hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. This gave me the opportunity to give back to the community and bond with some great kids. I was able to participate in intramural basketball, skiing and snowboard, hike, and enjoy several other outdoor activities that the surrounding area has to offer. I realize these activities aren’t school-run organizations, but they still contributed heavily into making my experience in Middlebury very memorable.
Q: When did tennis begin to interest you?
Honestly, the game of soccer was the first sport I played when I was growing up. My father, uncle and grandfather all played professional soccer in Slovakia and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. Around the age of 12 or so, I realized that tennis was the sport I wanted to play full-time and dedicated all my efforts toward being a tennis player.
I have a great love for the game, but I ran into some trouble early in my junior career, suffering multiple stress fractures that ultimately didn’t allow me to compete regularly. Though this obstacle was very difficult to overcome, I stayed with tennis and worked to get back to the position I was in prior to the injuries. Everything worked out and I was able to finish my career on a positive note.
Q: How influential has your family been in your life?
My family has been extremely influential throughout my life both in the classroom and on the tennis courts. I come from a very athletic-driven background and without their support and interests, I would not be in the position I am today. They have been present at as many of my matches as they possibly could be, especially during my time here at Middlebury. My parents and grandparents have come to matches both at home and on the road and that has lifted my spirits seeing them, especially if I had had a difficult week.
Much of my character has also been shaped by my family. Their consistent support and belief in me has guided me to have the success that I was fortunate enough to experience in both academics and athletics.
(Pictured, at right, at Cuba’s graduation in May: from left, his mother, Ildiko Cuba; sister, Olivia Cuba; Cuba, and father, also Lubomir Cuba.)
Q: What is your #MiddMoment?
My #MiddMoment has to be winning the 2018 National Championship in California. Everyone worked incredibly hard all year and I could not have thought of a better way to send the seniors off than with a national title.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
I was fortunate to receive an internship in Investment Banking at UBS last summer and converted that chance into a full-time job that I will start in July. I am excited to start this next chapter of my life and live in New York City with many of the same friends that I have made through my time at Middlebury.

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