Athlete of the Week: Marlborough senior Jason Levine
By Ryan Massad, Contributing Writer
Team: Marlborough tennis team
Coach: Paula Ryder
Notables: Team co-captain, undefeated so far
What are some of your earliest memories of tennis?
“I wasn’t introduced to competitive tennis until my freshman year, but I can remember hitting around with my father and brother when I was about 10 years old.”
Do you take part in any other sports/activities at Marlborough High School (MHS)?
“I’m the co-founder of the MHS International Table Tennis Association, and I’d have to say table tennis is my favorite sport aside from traditional tennis.”
Which season leading up to this, your senior year, has been the most special?
“My junior season was the most special. I played both first and second doubles with Yuuki Sato throughout the season, and we both had our highest personal win percentage of the three years we’d been playing. Also, our team as a whole made it to the playoffs with a triple-header win on the last day of the season, which brought us up over .500. Even though we had to go up against top-seeded St. John’s early in the playoffs, we still had a fun year overall.”
Have any coaches or teammates in particular pushed you towards success?
“I’ve had both a special coach and teammate during my time at MHS. My first coach freshman year was Tom Leopre, and his coaching style was unique and unparalleled by any other. A compliment from him was always a rare commodity, but that only made kids want to work harder to earn one. When kids would come off the courts during a match, he would sternly ask, ‘Do you know what you’re doing wrong?’ in his signature voice tone, and if you didn’t know the answer to that question, you’d receive a detailed explanation. As for a particular teammate, my doubles partner Yuuki Sato has always had my back for the three years that we’ve played together. He would always know when I wasn’t playing to my full potential, and would let me know. We’ve always been within one spot of each other on the ladder, so hopefully that will keep me on my toes this year, and push me to my full potential.”
What would you say is your best part of your game?
“I would probably say I play my best at the net. With my height [6‘2”] I can easily span myself out left or right to reach shots, and I can extend upwards to hit smashes as well.”
Have you decided on a college yet? Would you like to play tennis there?
“I plan to attend the University of Connecticut in the fall, majoring in computer science and engineering. I’ll probably start out just playing club tennis freshman year, considering the actual squad is extremely competitive to get on to. Club tennis still offers the experience that the real thing offers, and hopefully I can prepare myself to try out sophomore year.”
What is your favorite class in school and why?
“My favorite class in school is my AP Computer Science course that I’m currently enrolled in. The reason is it’s essentially preparing me for what I will be doing in college, on my way to becoming a software engineer. It’s also something that I can understand fairly easily.”
Who is your favorite professional tennis player?
“My favorite tennis player is Novak Djokovic. I’ve always been able to relate my mannerisms, and even some of my play style, to his. He stands at the exact same height as myself, with a fairly similar body structure, so being able to see the things that he can accomplish, I can almost see myself being able to play that well someday. However cheesy that may be.”
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