by Kaitlin Fuelling '13
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Recently, SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with junior Eugene Muchynski (EM), a member of Santa Clara men's tennis team, which is ranked No. 35 in the national polls by the Intercollegiate Tennis Assosciation. Muchynski talked about the balance he has found between sports and school as well as some of his thoughts on the season so far.
The Broncos are off this week for finals and start WCC play at 5:30 PM on Fri., March 23 when they host first-year league member BYU.
SCB: You are about halfway through the season and are about to enter a relatively packed schedule. How do you balance between practice and match schedule? Does the team normally practice hard right up until match day?
EM: Practice is very important, and all my teammates and coaches make the most out of every practice. We go hard 100% of the practices. Usually the day before a match we might have a shorter practice, but it's very important to always give your best effort and energy every practice.
SCB: How did you practice in the off-season to prepare for your junior year?
EM: I did a lot of training during the summer to prepare for this year. I normally did 2-a-days, which means 2 hits per day. I also did a lot of conditioning; including running and going to the gym.
SCB: How do you set an example for the younger players?
EM: I set an example for the young players by showing them that I'm constantly training or studying, and by getting them to hit outside of practice constantly.
SCB: What do you see as your strong point in the matches? Does your strength differ between singles and doubles?
EM: My strong point in matches is probably my fitness. I'm in very great shape and am able to last for many hours and sets on the court without showing any fatigue. This and other strengths help me out in singles, but not in doubles since it's an eight game pro-set and the matches go by fairly fast.
SCB: Is there any team in particular you would like to or are looking forward to playing against?
EM: Pepperdine, because they are the top team in our conference and we are capable of beating them this year.
SCB: What are some of your pre-match routines? Do you have any superstitions?
EM: My personal pre-match routine is to go for a run in the morning before a match to get warm and a little sweat going. My only superstition is on changeover, where I have to take a few sips of Gatorade first and then drink water.
SCB: You often play with Tom Pham in doubles. How is your playing relationship with Tom? How do you two practice and work together?
EM: Tom Pham and I went undefeated in doubles our freshman year. We are good friends and are able to communicate well on the court. We practice playing doubles in practice including doing many drills, sets, and tiebreak's. We also hit on our own outside of practice occasionally.