Senior tennis star, Max Manthou is currently entering his last post season at Kentwood high school. Manthou has compiled a 90-0 record in four seasons and is attempting to win his fourth individual state championship this month. We got a chance to talk to Max about the upcoming post season and other topics. Check out the interview after the jump!
How has the tennis season gone so far for you?
It ended in October, but the district and state championships are coming up soon. Our team finished in second place in the league. Rciky Bobby says if you’re not first you’re last, but most importantly the season was well worth it because it was a really fun time with new faces and new personalities.
Is it weird having a huge layoff between the regular season and playoffs?
It’s definitely strange and should be changed, but it doesn’t matter to me all that much. Tennis has been beaten into my blood and I’ll play whenever they tell me to. It affects kids that qualify for districts or state and then don’t practice. I had a teammate put his racket in the closet for six months, show up to play, and get his ass handed to him because he wasn’t ready.
Do you play at all during the winter?
Tennis is a year round sport. It can drive you crazy. Luckily I have basketball to balance things out and refresh my mind. This year I was captain for the Kentwood basketball team and we took the state title. Because it demanded so much of my time, I didn’t play that much tennis this winter but I will eat, sleep, and breathe tennis over my four year career at the University of Washington.
That’s an awesome story about winning the title in basketball, did the whole injury risk ever enter your mind? Did you play basketball for the past four years?
Never. If you think you might get injured, you will. Besides, basketball is my favorite sport by a longshot. If I was a little taller and darker, I’d be a baller. You know what they say, white men can’t jump–especially those who are 5’8. I’ve played basketball for Kentwood since ninth grade and I don’t regret any of my time spent on the hardfloor.
When did you pick up the tennis racket? Was there a moment where you said, “wow, I think I’m pretty good at this” ?
I picked up the racket when I was 5 at the Kent Swim & Tennis Club. I was supposed to be there to learn to swim, but 13 years later I swing the racket around pretty well and can’t swim a lick. I’ve always had a natural talent for the sport–it utilizes my agility and keen sense of anticipation.
Are there any pro tennis players you model your game after or look up to?
No. I model my game after Nate Robinson. My nickname (and rapper name) is The LittleBigMan, and Nate the Great is the truest littlebigman in sports. What he’s accomplished with the hand that he was dealt is unbelievable. I love his tenacity and hustle. I try to model that underdog’s mentality.
Who will be your main competition in 4A this spring?
Hudson Barnhart from Wenatchee will be tough if he’s in the draw. Matt Overland from Kentridge is back again too, I played his in the state finals last year.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
I’m just a dude in shirt and shorts trying to have a good time. Thanks for the interview and go huskies!