The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Aleks Huryn of Penn men's tennis 15 questions about his sport, his time at Penn, and life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
I am Aleks Huryn and I am from Atlanta, Georgia. I am a senior at Penn studying finance. I have been on the tennis team for all four years, but I have been playing tennis since I was five years old.
2. How would you describe your time at Penn so far?
My time at Penn has been overall pretty good. First year was a little tough, coming in as a freshman, [there are] a lot of things you do not know and [you] are still trying to meet friends. It is kind of crazy at first. Overall, it has definitely been great. I have enjoyed my time and met a lot of good people. Unfortunately, the pandemic messed some things up in the second half, but I have tried to make the best of it.
3. What has been the best thing about being a Penn athlete?
The best thing about being a Penn athlete is the team environment. You come and everyone on the team welcomes you as one of their own. It is like one entity and being able to do everything together. Being able to experience the ups and downs of the team is a wonderful overall experience. For tennis, this is something I had not had at the junior level — it is mostly individual. So college gave me the opportunity to experience something new, and it was a pretty great thing.
4. Is there anything you would like to change from your time at Penn?
I would love some time back that COVID-19 took away — the in-person experience, and having the extra time with friends. Other than that, the years have been great.
5. What is your favorite way to destress?
My favorite way to destress is working out. Being an athlete from a young age, I have always known that exercise and sports are beneficial to me both physically and mentally. Going to the gym, playing golf and tennis are a great way for me to get my mind off things, relax, and enjoy the present moment.
6. Do you have a certain pregame meal?
I do not have anything specific, but in general, just healthy. Nothing too heavy because before matches, if you eat too much, you move heavy on the court. So, just a lower-calorie, nutritious snack is always good to have.
7. Who is your role model?
I have two. For tennis, it's Rafael Nadal. He is tied for the most grand slams right now — one of the greatest players in the world. My other would have to be Tiger Woods, for all the things he has overcome, and for how great of a player he was back in the day.
8. What is your favorite memory on the team?
My favorite memory on the team is when we played Penn State. I was the last match on the court and was the decider because we were tied at the time. It went to the third set tiebreaker, where it was six all, and then I ended up winning 7-5 in tie break to clinch, and then everyone rushed the court, hugged me, and there was a lot of energy.
9. How would you sum up the tennis team's dynamic in one word?
Everyone really comes to work hard. We all have the same mindset and mentality to get the most out of every practice.
10. What is something a typical person would not know about you?
I was originally born in Russia. I moved at a young age and I don't have a Russian accent, so when I tell most people they are surprised.
11. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?
The weirdest food I ate was when I was in China two years ago, we went to this restaurant with a lot of different meats, scorpions, and just a large variety of food. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't for me. A lot of variety that you would not encounter in the U.S.
12. How would your family describe you in a few words?
Motivated, always upbeat, enthusiastic, friendly, happy to be in the situation I am in, and always looking forward to the best possible outcome down the road.
13. What is one thing on your bucket list?
I would want to play at Augusta National, where the Masters is every year for golf.
14. What got you into tennis?
My mom got me into tennis. She was a really good tennis player back in her junior days and college days. Growing up, that was all she knew, and she knew she could give away some of this knowledge and talent to me. So, she put the racket in my hand at a young age and helped me develop there.
15. What is the one song you will always know the words to?
I am not really good with memorizing lyrics. There are no songs I really know all the words to, just parts.
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