March 13, 2006
Florida State men’s tennis player Maciek Sykut (goes by the name “Magic”) is one of the most decorated incoming freshmen in the history of Seminole tennis. After moving to Marathon, Fla., at age seven from Warsaw, Poland, Maciek picked up a racket and never looked back. He has played in 42 tournaments worldwide in his young career, and in the last 24, brought home 10 singles and doubles championships. At one point in 2003, Maciek won four straight titles. Of all his awards, he is most proud of the state 1A championship he helped bring to Marathon High, their first state championship in any sport in over 25 years. However, Maciek most loves and respects his heritage, and always enjoys a chance to discuss the city where his family is, and one of two places he likes to call home. The way he arrived to the United States was quite an interesting story. When he was seven years old his mother won a U.S. visa in the lottery and thus his family had exactly one year to relocate to the United States. Originally they chose Chicago but decided a warm climate in Florida was much more appealing. Seminoles.com sat down with Sykut this week…
1. Do you see a slight difference between high school and college tennis?
There is definitely a huge difference between high school tennis and the college level. I traveled a lot and played internationally but you can still see a pretty big difference between international junior tennis and the college level. I would have to say in college, tennis is a lot more intense in general. You see players compete with a lot more aggression.
2. Do you have any pre-match superstitions?
No, not at all. I go to Bagel Bagel with my teammates before every match but it’s just for breakfast and not a superstition. I don’t listen to any music or anything.
3. What does it mean to you to have a scholarship at Florida State?
Having a scholarship means a great deal to me. It was a goal growing up and I had to give up stuff like friends and going out in order to stay focused on my goal of obtaining a scholarship. It definitely paid off and I am very appreciative because if I didn’t have a scholarship I wouldn’t be in college. My family couldn’t afford it so pretty much it’s the only way for them to pay for school. So, I’m real grateful. Having a scholarship is like a gift to me so I never take it for granted.
4. You were born in Poland and then came to the United States. What is the story behind that?
I moved here to the United States when I was seven. It was kind of an accident. My mom won a green card in the lottery and we had one year to redeem it so we relocated to the United States.
5. Was it a hard transition moving to the U.S.?
The first year was, not knowing English and just being in a different country all together. It took me about a year to learn the language and after that I was fine.
6. It seems like the fans love your name. What’s the history behind the name Maciek?
It’s a pure Polish name and relatively common in my country. That’s where my name nickname “Magic” derived from. When people tried to pronounce Maciek in America it would come out as “Magic”.
7. I hear you drive a nice BMW. What’s the story on the Beamer?
I just got it over Thanksgiving break. It was an early Christmas present from my parents because my other car was breaking down. It was kind of a surprise. I came home one night with one of my roommates and I was looking at a car magazine and I just got done looking at the pages and right after I closed it my mom called and said they bought me a car. At first I was uncertain because I didn’t know what kind of car it was but obviously I was certainly excited when I saw it.
8. What color is it?
Metallic Green and the license plate says “MAGIC.”
9. What kind of role does your family play on your career?
My family has the biggest influence on my life and career. I am thankful for the way I was raised. I am thankful for their support and discipline growing up. My sister just graduated from Florida Atlantic and she is also doing well professionally.
10. If your coaches and teammates were on Survivor…who would win?
My head coach Dwayne would definitely win. He is probably wiser than anyone else on the team and I’m sure he’d have some tricks up his sleeve (laughs).