Turati twins bring new meaning to doubles play at Texas

Clark Dalton

Consistency has been hard to come by for the Texas women’s tennis team in the past. But two years ago, it was able to find that in a pair.

Anna and Bianca Turati, two highly touted juniors on the Texas tennis team, were born within six minutes of each other just outside the middle of Northern Italy. During their childhood, the duo blossomed in a unique household which featured a father who was a professional skier-turned-dentist, a sister that was savvy in business and a mother who vehemently encouraged them to strive for excellence every step of the way.    

“We had a great relationship with our family growing up,” Bianca said. “It was a trio between us and our sister who is graduating soon. We idolize our father since he was a sports star. Mom served as the guide who always pushed us in school and gave us the best advice. Everybody did their part. We got very lucky with our family.”

From the time they were six years old, the twins spent countless hours crafting their backhands and forehands side by side. The constant routine eventually brewed a sense of healthy competition.

“We would compete for every little thing, whether it was our grades or who should make the bed or clean the kitchen,” Anna said. “That competition drove us to the point where we are now since we always made each other better on the court and knew how to support each other when one of (us) was struggling.”

The fierce match-point battles after school produced an ambition which paralleled their skill, posing a huge problem for opponents. Eventually, Anna and Bianca became two of the most talented amateurs on the European circuit as each garnered international attention, combining 104 wins in singles play.

The victories also caught the eye of head coach Howard Joffe who was looking to revitalize the Longhorns after missing multiple NCAA Tournaments despite having scholarship players.

Although Anna and Bianca had the opportunity to turn professional after competing in Italy, they decided to enroll at Texas two years ago to earn their respective degrees.

“It was either Texas or go pro, but getting the degree was important,” Anna said. “We loved the campus and felt it would only delay going pro by a few years, and would help us in the future since there is always something to do.”

Although their freshman year was challenging as the two faced language barriers before learning English, the shared difficulties between the twins relieved the pressure of finding success in an unfamiliar place.

The twins’ fortitude has sculpted one of the most sensational combinations in collegiate tennis. Making the Big 12 All-Freshman Team was just the start as the Turatis became a huge factor for the Longhorns last season. The sisters propelled Texas toward a No. 6 ranking — its highest since 2005. The Longhorns also captured their first Big 12 regular season title since 2003, a Big 12 post-season title and a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

This season, Anna and Bianca are 4–1 in doubles play, but winning an NCAA Championship still remains their ultimate goal.

“Bianca and Anna have blazed their own trail,” Joffe said. “But both share the heart of a lion, allowing them to treat every match like it’s an NCAA Final.”