By WVUA 23 Web Writer Mason Estevez
Alexey Nesterov is not your average tennis player at the University of Alabama.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore is from Moscow, Russia, where he was the top-ranked tennis star in his country under the age of 16.
He left for the United States at the age of 17 to train at the Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, California.
He also scored a perfect 800 on the math section of the SAT on his first attempt, so when it came to playing tennis while receiving an education, the choice for Nesterov was obvious, he wanted to roll with the tide.
“The system, the college system here you can do both, you can study and do sports, but in Russia you have to choose to do your study or do professional sports,” Nesterov said, “That’s actually the reason I came here because it’s such a great system here for college sports. I think it’s the best place for athletes to study and still perform.”
Head men’s tennis coach George Husack said he met Nesterov at the tennis academy in California and knew right away that he was a hungry and determined player.
Athletic success isn’t anything new in the Nesterov family.
Nesterov’s grandmother Klara Guseva competed as a speed skater in the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympic Games, where she won gold for the Soviet Union in the 1,000 meter race.
The two share a special athletic bond.
“She just told me that I need to work hard and I always have to stay positive no matter what because all athletes struggle sometimes and they go through some bad moments, but every time I struggle I just remember that my grandmother won the Olympic Games and I remember that it’s my dream, that’s what keeps me going,” Nesterov said.
As far as one day representing Russia on the Olympic stage, Nesterov wants to follow in his grandmother’s footsteps.
“It’s been my goal since I was 7 years old. It’s been my goal always,” Nesterov said, “I really want to go there and represent my country. It would be awesome.”