Lenny Maiocco III Scranton Times Athlete of Week

The Western Wayne freshman tennis player improved to 20-0 this season, notching a three-set victory to capture the District 2 Class 2A tennis title.

Age: 15

Family: Father, Lenny Jr., mother Christa, sister Alaina.

Other sports you play: Track — the hurdles and 400.

I know you had a really good final against Scranton Prep’s Jack Habeeb, winning in three sets. I met him this year and I really, really like him a lot. Very respectful, very nice, very talented player.

When you get a good match against a quality opponent, do you soak in the moment? When I played Jack, I knew I’d have to play my best tennis. When he beat me the first set, he was just playing very, very well. When I won, it was a good victory for me. I learned a lot from that.

Winning a championship as a freshman, that’s a very big deal. Have you thought about the accomplishment? I try not to think about me being a freshman, just that I’m going out and playing with other tennis players and just play. People say freshmen have to prove themselves. I try not to think about that.

How does playing two sports in the same season work? They’re both the same season. It was very hard this year. If I had a home tennis match and a home track meet, I’d play my tennis match and as soon as I was done, I’d run down to the track, get changed and have just enough time for one event.

Fortunately, you’re very good in tennis so you were able to polish some opponents off early. It was nice to be able to finish in 45 minutes, go down there and still have time. It’s just go out there and get the job done.

But tennis is the number-one thing, correct? I told my track coach tennis has to come first because that’s my main sport. He said it was totally fine, but we still want you. He put me on varsity this year, which is rare for a freshman, so I was very honored coach (Justin) Collins put me on there.

Athletes you admire: My cousins, Trina Barcarola, Johnny Barcarola and Alex Long. They’re really big inspirations because they are so good at what they do. It’s nice having other family members who do well.

Did they draw you into track? Actually, Trina and Johnny did. Last year when I was hurt with my shoulder I couldn’t really play tennis so I had to take a break. They said, ‘Why don’t you come do track?’ I fell in love with it, and that’s why I try to balance both this year.

Any sports teams you follow: My dad likes Dallas Cowboys fan so I watch that a little bit, but I mostly like tennis.

Is there one tennis player you have to watch if they are on TV? Roger Federer. He’s such a legend that every time I see him I’m so inspired that I try to be at least somewhat like him.

What parts of his game have you tried to incorporate into your game? Definitely his serve and forehand because they are such weapons that I try to make those a weapon in my game.

What is your best weapon? I’d say my forehand. I can really dictate play if I get it exactly where I want it.

How did you get involved in tennis? I saw my dad play when I was about 9 years old so I tried it out.

Superstitions or rituals on match day? No, but in the bigger matches like against Holy Cross, Abington Heights and Delaware Valley, I like to get in a zone and I don’t like to talk to people. I know I have to play my best tennis so I get into the zone that day. I don’t do anything specific to get in it, though.

Three people you’d like to have dinner with. My mom, my dad and my sister.

After high school, what are your plans? I’d like to go to a Division I school for academics but also for tennis. That’s something I’d really like to do. I’d like to study business.

Most famous athlete you’ve ever met? Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. Open in 2013. She was signing books at a stand so I went up and had her sign my book.

States are coming up in less than two weeks. Any expectations? I’m just going to go out there and see what happens. Going into districts, my coach said I had a target on my back because I was the number-one seed and expected to win. So I had a lot of pressure on me and I kind of let it get to me in that last match with Jack. Going into states I just want to play my game and do the best I can. I’m just going to go out there and play.

What part of your game do you need to develop? I’d say my backhand. It can be steady at moments but sat other times it can really let me down. I feel like developing that would be really, really good.

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