Catching Up With Alex Slovic

Aug. 10, 2009

A few weeks ago, former Husky All-American Alex Slovic had one of the proudest moments of his tennis career, as he won the gold medal at the World University Games, held in his home country of Serbia. Since graduating from Washington in 2007 as the school's all-time leader in combined singles and doubles wins, Slovic has devoted himself to the ATP Tour, where he has competed across several continents in challenger and future-level events. Recently Slovic took the time to fill in on his new gold medal, his favorite UW matches, and the life of a touring tennis pro. Talk a bit about the whole experience of the World University Games. Being in your home country did you have a lot of fan support? Did you have any family and friends watching that don't usually get to see you play?
Alex Slovic:
'The whole experience with the World University Games was incredible. There were two players in the singles draw from each country, and it was my privilege to be one of them representing Serbia at such a great event. I had a lot of support, especially in the final (around a thousand people). My parents were out of town, so they didn't get to see me play at this event, however, they get to see me play every now and then. In addition, there were a lot of friends that came to watch. The fans were so into the match, they were so pumped much as I was. It was exciting!'

GH: Where do you think the win ranks in your tennis career? It must have been a very satisfying win in the final.
'This is probably the biggest win in my career. I think that the fact that the Universiade was in Belgrade makes it even more satisfying.'

GH: What was the post-match ceremony like? Did they play national anthems?
'The ceremony was great. They did not play the national anthem, but they played the Universiade anthem- Gaudeamus Igitur (it is an anthem for students), and they raised flags. I was born in Serbia, so it felt great playing for Serbia.'

GH: In your first match you had to play Klaus Jank of Germany, who I am assuming is the same player who was a Husky for one year a few years back. Was it strange playing against a former teammate? Had you kept in touch with him or was it a big surprise to see him in the draw?
'I was seeded 4th, and I didn't have to play first round. I played Klaus in the second round. Klaus was at UW for I think the 2006 season. And when he came to UW he lived with me and a few more tennis guys. It felt kind of weird to play a former roommate and teammate. We talked several times after he left UW. He never told me he was coming to Belgrade. The first time I saw him in Belgrade was in the big dining hall where all athletes used to eat. I was shocked to see him, because I haven't seen him for 2-3 years and because I assumed he would have told me he was coming.'

GH: So where do you currently live when not traveling to different tournaments?
'When I am not traveling for tournaments, I stay with my parents in Pancevo (where I was born). When I am at home I practice in Belgrade, 30 minutes away from home.'

GH: How do you go about making your tournament schedule and choosing where to play? It looks like for a while this year you played just about every week. What's coming up soon on your schedule?
'I make tennis plans on my own. However, I frequently ask coach Anger for advice. This part of year I play on clay, and there are a lot of tournaments in Europe during summer. I have three futures tournaments at home staring the first week of August. After that I will play three challengers in September (Romania, Slovenia and Bosnia). That's my schedule until the end of September. After that I haven't made any plans.'

GH: Are there any big differences in playing styles between the guys you face now and the ones you played in college? What parts of your game have you worked on most since graduating?
'There are minor differences between guys that I face now compared to college players. Every match I play now is like playing a top college guy. My practice routine is the same now as when I was in college. I picked up a lot of exercises from playing in college, and I use them now with my club mates. Currently I don't have a coach and basically I work on my own like most of the players. After graduating from UW I had a knee surgery. Now my knee feels good and I am able to practice more than I used to.'

GH: What are the toughest parts of being on tour? Is it the travel and solitude? Do you get time to see some of the cities where you compete?
'As far as traveling, I don't mind it at all. That's the way it works and I've accepted it. I visited a lot of different places and sometimes I get to be a tourist as well. The toughest part at this point is financing.'

GH: How closely do you follow the rankings, and do you have specific goals for each year?
'I follow the rankings, and I have goals but it is not easy to climb the ladder. I am currently ranked 636 in singles and 325 in doubles. I don't really defend that many points in singles until the end of the year so there is room for improvement.'

GH: Looking back a bit on your Husky career, are there two or three matches that you remember most fondly?
'Some of the college matches are unforgettable. Number one was the NCAA team championship second round match at Virginia Commonwealth in 2006--I won the deciding match. Next was the 2007 NCAA (singles tourney) and my quarterfinal victory against Jesse Levine to earn a place in the semifinals.'

GH: Finally, once your playing days are complete, where do you see yourself living and what type of work do you think you'll be interested in?
'This is a hard one. I like it in Serbia. On the other hand, I had a great time at UW in Seattle so I could live in states too. I am interested in finance, but I am passionate about tennis so one of these two is going to be my future.'

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