March 19, 2012
One of three true freshmen to see significant playing time this season for the 17th-ranked Huskies, Viktor Farkas was the latest addition, joining the team at the start of winter quarter in January and jumping right in to the starting singles lineup. Farkas is believed to be the first Husky to hail from Slovakia, though Washington has had a great tradition of Eastern European players, including current junior Marton Bots from Hungary. Over finals week, Farkas talked about how his first quarter of classes went, how he made the move from Bratislava to Seattle, and making adjustments from the clay courts he is used to.
GoHuskies.com: You're just wrapping up your first quarter of classes, so how do you think it went?
Viktor Farkas: When I came here I didn't really know what to expect, but I think I did really well. I expect good grades. I got my first grade back today and it was 4.0, so I think it's going to be good.
GH: What types of classes did you take this quarter?
VF: I had quite an easy schedule. I had English 131, and then English 103 that is linked to 131, and then Physics 110. I finished on Monday so almost two weeks of holidays.
GH: You listed Computer Science as a potential major in your bio, is that still what you're thinking?
VF: Yeah, that's what I'm thinking about. And next quarter I'm taking two classes towards Computer Science, so that will be more important for me than this quarter. Computer Science was one of the reasons I came here, because it's a really good program here. My father works in a computer science company, and also I went to a high school specialized in programming and math. So we will see what the level will be here.
GH: You were the new face on the team, not joining at the same time as the other freshmen. Was that tough and how long did it take to feel like just one of the guys?
VF: That was one of the things I was most concerned about, how the guys would be on the team. But they're really nice, and I feel really comfortable among them. I like them a lot. As a whole team I think we have a good community where you can improve both as a player and as a person.
GH: In class was there any kind of language barrier or was that not an issue for you?
VF: Two of the classes were for international students, so it was okay. Maybe I was lucky because the professor for Physics was from Eastern Europe, so he had a really similar accent to me, so I understood him really well.
GH: As far as tennis goes, you guys have had a nice season so far with some big matches coming up soon. How do you think the team has done so far and how do you feel you are playing?
VF: I am kind of struggling, but getting better every day. There is the big difference between playing on clay, which I played on back in Slovakia, and playing on hard (courts), but I'm getting adjusted and it's getting better every day. I think as a team we are doing really well. We have just one bad loss, and a couple good wins, so I hope we can go on like this.
GH: Is there anything that surprised you about college tennis or the style of play?
VF: I thought the level would be lower. There are nine guys on this team besides me that play really well. I didn't expect that. I expected two or three guys playing well and the rest being on a lower level, but it's pretty even.
GH: Are there any specific aspects of your game that you are concentrating more on in practice, or that you think you have improved since you got here?
VF: I'm working on my volleys and playing closer to the baseline, those are the two main things I focus on. On clay it's much slower and there are a lot of bad bounces so players can't play close to the baseline because it's hard to react to the bounce.
GH: Talk a bit about the recruiting process and how you got in contact with the coaches, and ultimately how you decided this was the right place for you.
VF: I had a really good season last year, so in September I contacted a few coaches, and U-Dub was one of them. We started to send emails and (Coach Anger) told me he would come to Slovakia to see me in person. So he came for three days, we talked a lot, he saw me playing, and I decided to go there.
GH: How tough of a decision was it?
VF: It was tough for me because I had a limited amount of information. It was making a lifetime decision based on information from the internet and discussions with coaches. All the coaches wanted to recruit me so they told me just the good stuff about the schools, so it was really tough to know what is reliable and what is not. But I made a good decision.
GH: What do you miss about home? It must be pretty different here compared to Bratislava.
VF: It's a smaller city than Seattle is. Also how the city looks is much different. Here is small houses and there are apartments. I miss my friends and family, but it is bearable because I have really good friends here also. I talk with my family over Skype every other day or so.
GH: When did you first start playing tennis?
VF: I guess when I was six. Since then I've been playing almost all the time. When I was young I played soccer but I wasn't really into it so I chose tennis.
GH: You had to jump right in to both school and playing matches in January. How tough was that and did you ever feel overwhelmed?
VF: That was one thing I was also afraid of, that there would be too much, but I think I did well. The school system is different because in Slovakia you are in school longer, let's say six hours in school, but not very much homework. Here will be three hours in school and three hours of homework. Also, in Slovakia I was not graded on my homework, so that's a big difference.
GH: Have you started watching any American shows or gotten into anything here that you didn't watch back home?
VF: Guys on the team are really into basketball so I watch basketball with them. I've been to a couple of the basketball games here, and I really like it. Basketball is not very big in Slovakia.
GH: Is practice any different with the week off for finals? You have a big match coming up on the road at Pepperdine and they're ranked in the Top-10.
VF: A lot of guys had finals this week so a few of them didn't practice on Monday or Tuesday, but I practiced and worked hard and it's good to know I can practice really hard and not have a match in the next few days. I'm looking forward to going to California, I've never been there.
GH: Thanks Viktor and best of luck next week in California.
VF: Thank you.