Spotlight on Athletes: Aino Alkio

Although Stanford OHS is one of the most academically demanding high schools in the country, many Pixels are able to make significant contributions to the world of sport. In our new “Spotlight on Athletes” interview series, we will be taking a look at the lives of some of the OHS’s many accomplished athletes. Our first Spotlight Athlete is Aino Alkio, a sophomore currently in her second year at the OHS, her first as a full-time student. Aino is an accomplished tennis player from Helsinki, Finland, who currently lives and trains in Barcelona. She has been playing tennis for over ten years. See what she had to say:

What is your favorite thing about playing tennis, and why?

I’ve been playing tennis for as long as I remember, and it has taught me so many things, not only inside the court, but especially outside the court. I’ve been able to travel to so many countries, meet new people that have become my best friends, as well as learn to work hard and patiently to achieve my goals. But, besides all the opportunities that playing competitive tennis has given me, what I most like is that I can go on the court and forget everything else that is going on. I can just focus on doing the thing I love, playing tennis, without worrying about other things that are happening.

What are your training and playing schedules typically like? How do they fit in with your OHS classes?fullsizerender

During training weeks in Barcelona I usually train two hours of tennis and one and a half hours of fitness in the morning, and one and a half hours of tennis in the afternoon. I usually have at least one rest day per week.
Since I live in Europe, the OHS classes fit my schedule quite well. I finish training around 16, and have classes for the rest of the afternoon/evening. On tournament weeks my schedule is quite different, depending on the match schedules. It is sometimes a little difficult to manage classes and homework, but good planning has been the key to making it work.

What do you hope to achieve within the sport?

My goal is to play tennis professionally. I have always dreamed of playing in the pro circuit.

Who has been your biggest tennis influence, and why?

I don’t really have a single answer to this question, I like to think that my game has taken little parts from different people. My dad, who first took me to play tennis, has definitely been a huge influence, as well my coaches. Looking at pro players also gives a lot of motivation.

Describe your proudest moment as a tennis player.

For me the proudest moments have been feeling that I’ve improved or learned something new. Sometimes it’s winning a tight match or just finishing a good training.

What else do you enjoy doing when you aren’t busy with school and tennis?

Honestly, I have very little time outside of studying and tennis, but whenever I’m back home and have some free time I like to spend it with my friends and family.

Thanks for sharing and good luck in the future, Aino!

Do you want to be featured in the next Spotlight? Do you know an athlete who would like to be interviewed? Contact Bassel El-Rewini by email at bassel@ohs.stanford.edu or by Skype at bassel.rewini

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