North Texas Daily

With a little bit of luck, Alexandra Heczey is making her presence felt for North Texas tennis

With a little bit of luck, Alexandra Heczey is making her presence felt for North Texas tennis

February 22
16:19 2017

Thinking back to her days in Hungary, a smile illuminates over the sun-kissed face of Alexandra Heczey. As the images of her homeland fill her mind, the elegant Gothic, Turkish and Baroque-style buildings that once surrounded her with a comforting embrace no longer exist.

Not here at least. Not in Denton.

As much as she misses her home, the soft-spoken freshman for the North Texas tennis team is not here to dwell on her past.

“I have a lot of things going on here,” Heczey said. “I just [don’t] have time to think about it“

But if it wasn’t for a bit of luck, Heczey may have never ended up with the Mean Green.

Heczey’s discovery of North Texas began with a simple Google search of the best hospitality degree programs in the country. When she saw UNT on the list she decided to reach out to head coach Sujay Lama.

And Heczey took an unconventional approach to contact him.

“I couldn’t find his e-mail, so I [messaged] him on Facebook,” Heczey said. “But because we weren’t friends my message went to the trash.”

While skiing in the mountains of New Mexico, Lama, already exhausted, took a break from his adventures and decided to check on his Facebook account. Out of the 35 or so spam messages Lama received, over half of them were recruits vying for his attention.

Uninterested, Lama decided to delete all of the messages.

Except for one, of course.

“I looked at Alex’s [message], and whatever she said there it kind of caught my attention,” Lama said. “So what I did was forward [her recruitment video] to [associate] coach [Jeff] Hammond.”

After digging up some information on Heczey, the two coaches were sold on her even more when they discovered she nearly defeated Hungary’s top singles player.

As for whether Heczey would be on the team if not for that fortunate click on the spam folder, which Lama didn’t know existed until then, the head coach’s response is simple.

“Probably not,” he said.

It’s only been six months since Heczey started the new chapter of her life, one that she and her family planned years before she even thought about coming to North Texas.

From the moment she picked up a racquet around the age of 8, her love for the sport began to blossom. What initially started off as a hobby for her father eventually became something that Heczey knew could impact the rest of her life.

“It was in high school,” Heczey said. “It was my first or second [year] when I knew that I had the opportunity to study abroad. Since that time, I’ve been so dedicated to come here.”

Private English classes, SAT tutoring sessions and countless hours honing her skills on the court consumed the later stages of her teen years and left Heczey without very much time to engage in the typical adolescent activities.

“Tennis is my life,” Heczey said. “I didn’t have that much time to spend for myself. I was very dedicated and I was preparing for university.”

But Heczey had to adapt to a different style of tennis in the United States.

Despite her background as one of Hungary’s top tennis players, Heczey found herself struggling to adjust to nuances of collegiate tennis.

“It was strange,” Heczey said. “I didn’t know these players. They are from different countries. Everyone has different techniques and tactics. It was pretty hard to come in here as a tennis player.”

It didn’t take long for Heczey to get back on track and make her impact felt on the team.

After opening the season winning two of her first three singles matches, she now has the highest winning percentage among freshmen on the team at .500. Instead of looking like a confused freshman, Heczey has begun to look more and more like a decisive, poised veteran.

“Everything is easy with her shots,” freshman Ivana Babic said. “She has a big serve, a big backhand and [a big] forehand.”

Now that she’s here at North Texas, Heczey is looking forward to making the most of her chances both on and off the court.

One thing is certain, though — she loves her new home.

“You have so many opportunities [in the United States],” Heczey said. “Maybe I’ll try to be pro, but I don’t want to go back to Hungary.”

Featured Image: Freshman Alexandra Heczey came from Hungary to play for UNT’s women’s tennis team. Samantha Hardisty

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Cesar Valdes

Cesar Valdes

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