By: Student Assistant Brooke Davis '13
Bronco junior men's tennis player Eugene Muchynski has developed into a reliable and clutch performer for the 30th ranked team in the nation. In Santa Clara's upset 4-3 win over then-No. 19-ranked USD on April 15, Muchynski came through with a key win at No. 5 singles, helping the Broncos defeat a top 20 team for the first time in program history. Muchynski has received high praise from head coach Derek Mills on helping the Broncos win some key matches this year with his singles play as well. This week www.SantaClaraBroncos.com caught up with Muchynski about the team's recent victories, his emphasis on fitness during the offseason and the wildest play he has experienced during the season.
SCB: We might be able to call you Mr. Clutch this season! How does it feel to have the clinching win versus then-No. 19 USD and BYU and at TCU to help bring your team to victory?
EM: It's one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life. Being the deciding factor in some of these tough matches is like a dream come true.
SCB: Head coach Derek Mills said you totally rededicated yourself to tennis in the offseason. What did you do to get ready for this year? In addition, you lost 25 pounds. Any tips on how you did this?
EM: My rededication to tennis started the day after the 2011 season ended. Starting on that day, I began my training for the next season by playing tennis everyday, going to the gym, doing conditioning and eating healthy.
On losing the weight, my first step was to start eating healthy and not consume any junk food. The second step was to play tennis everyday - sometimes even 2 or 3 times a day. The last step was doing lots of cardio including running in the hills, on the treadmill and biking.
SCB: What is your favorite part about tennis?
EM: I really enjoy traveling to so many different locations. I also like the singles aspect of it being a one-on-one sport, where the outcome of the match is mainly depended on the player.
SCB: When did you start playing tennis and why?
EM: I started playing tennis at the age of six. My parents thought that I needed to play a sport and it was between tennis and swimming. Tennis won out.
SCB: Who is your favorite tennis player?
EM: Novak Djokovic!
SCB: With two games left at Portland and Gonzaga this weekend, what will be the biggest challenge for the team and yourself?
EM: The biggest challenge will be to stay mentally focused and treat Portland and Gonzaga as serious as every other team we treated this season. Also the matches will be indoors, so we will have to make some adjustments.
SCB: What is something about yourself that would shock most people?
EM: I never went to first grade.
SCB: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you during a match?
EM: One of the craziest things happened this season in my doubles match against USF with Nico Vinel. It was a very crucial point as I was at the net and my opponent had an easy volley that they launched at me. SinceI didn't want to get hit in the face I began turning around. The ball hit me in my rib cage and went back over the net for a drop shot winner. Everything happened so fast that both the referee and the opponents' thought that I hit the ball with my racquet. We ended up winning the point and the match.