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Athlete of the Week: 10 Questions with Bennett Cohen, MHS boys tennis

Suzy Demeter/22nd Century Media
Athlete of the Week: 10 Questions with Bennett Cohen, MHS boys tennis
10:14 am PDT March 17, 2017

Bennett Cohen, 17, is a junior and No. 1 singles player for Malibu boys tennis.

What first got you into tennis?

I actually come from a big baseball family and used to play high level ball. Something about the quick pace of tennis really piqued my interest. 

Playing now, what is it you like best about the game? 

I like the way it’s all on you. There aren’t any other players to blame, in singles anyway, and the entirety of a match rests in your hands. 

Where have you improved most compared to last year? 

I’ve focused on weight training in the past year trying to get a little bit stronger and quicker on the court. 

Your coach told me about a match in the CIF Playoffs (against Cate) that really helped you grow as a player. How so?

I had never gotten more than a game off the guy but in our first set I played some of the best tennis in my life and was up 4-0. Granted, I lost, but the match helped me overcome a mental block and become more aggressive. 

Being the No. 1 singles player, is there a different mindset? More pressure?

Even though senior Will Kish is our captain, I still feel like the younger players look up to me and if I lose a match, my teammates lose some energy in their matches. Because of that, there’s certainly more pressure in that my results have an impact on how my teammates perform. 

What are you looking forward to this season?

I’m looking forward to the competition and the hard, grinding matches. All of the teams in our league are at a high level and there are going to be tons of high quality matches. 

What hobbies do you have outside of tennis?

I love cards, building and inventing things and learning new skills. I also enjoy hanging with my two older brothers and two dogs. 

Who are some of your favorite athletes?

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

Do you have any tennis superstitions?

I bounce the ball three times before every first serve and two times before every second serve. I also spin my racket four times before returning each serve. Though it’s weird, if I lose two points in a row serving with the same ball, I will walk over and (exchange it for) the third ball hoping it will help me win.

What’s the most miraculous shot you’ve ever hit?

I’ve hit one “tweener” in my life. I was at the net and the opponent lobbed the ball over my head. I ran back and (while still facing the back wall) hit the ball between my legs and won the point. One of my luckiest moments.

Interview by Freelance Reporter Ryan Flynn.