Ohio State senior Peter Kobelt
© Ohio State Athletics
Kobelt is ranked ninth in singles and fourth in doubles in the college rankings.
© Jeff Mills/Ohio State Athletics
Two-time All American Kobelt was named Most Outstanding Player at the 2014 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship.
By Sally Milano, USTA.com
Senior Peter Kobelt is ranked No. 9 in the nation in singles and No. 4 in doubles (with Kevin Metka) on the No. 2-ranked Ohio State men's tennis team. Playing No. 1 singles for the Buckeyes, Kobelt has had an outstanding senior season so far. He received Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors two consecutive weeks in February and was named the ITA Indoor Team Tournament MVP after leading the Buckeyes to their first national indoor title last month. Kobelt is the first Ohio State player to receive MVP honors, which he earned after winning seven of the eight matches he played during the tournament.
An All-American in both singles and doubles in 2013, the 6-foot-7 Kobelt is originally from New Albany, Ohio, and is majoring in Consumer and Family Financial Services. He recently took time to answer questions on his experiences at Ohio State, what a typical day is like for him, what he enjoys most about college tennis and more in the latest USTA.com College Spotlight.
USTA.com: What made you choose Ohio State? As a native of Ohio, did you always know you wanted to go there, or did you consider other schools, too?
Peter Kobelt: I chose Ohio State because it was the best fit for me and because I loved the school so much. I knew that the tennis program was outstanding and it would allow me to become as good as I wanted to be. Growing up, I was a huge Buckeye fan, and when (Head Coach/Director of Tennis) Ty Tucker asked me to join the team, I had to say yes. I had a few other great offers, but playing tennis for Ohio State was always my dream.
USTA.com: Did you ever consider turning pro straight from juniors, or had you always planned to attend college?
Peter Kobelt: To be honest, I didn’t really know if I was actually good enough to even play at the Division I level. I was never ranked in the Top 200 nationally in the USTA rankings, and not too many schools knew who I even was because I didn’t play for half the year because of (playing high school) basketball. Going pro wasn’t even in my ballpark.
USTA.com: What do you enjoy most about college tennis?
Peter Kobelt: Nothing is more fun than playing for something bigger than yourself. College tennis gives you the opportunity to not only play tennis at a very high level but to also play for a great university with teammates [who have] the same goal as you, all while working on a world-class education. It’s pretty cool to play in front of large crowds on college campuses across the country.
USTA.com: Is it difficult to balance tennis and academics?
Peter Kobelt: It can be tough at times, but it really isn’t too bad. Ohio State has given me every chance to be the best student-athlete I can be. There are so many different resources that are available for me to use at any time that make school a lot more manageable. Having such a busy schedule makes you manage your time a lot more efficiently, too.
USTA.com: Describe a typical day in the life of Peter Kobelt.
Peter Kobelt: Busy. I start the day off at 8 a.m. with our team practice until about 11, and then head to weights with our strength coach at 11:30. After that, I grab a bite to eat and then head to class until about 5 or 6 p.m. Once I’m done with class, I have some free time to either go back and practice a little bit on my own or take care of some homework. I always like to end the day with some “SportsCenter” and maybe a TV show, depending on the day.
USTA.com: Who has been the biggest influence in your tennis career?
Peter Kobelt: I would say it’s a toss-up between my dad and Ty Tucker. My dad has been my coach since day one and has taught me everything he knows about tennis. I have so many great memories of my dad and me hitting forehands and serves as hard as I could for hours after he was done teaching for the day. Ty has taken me to the next level. He has shown me how to push myself further than I ever thought I could and shown me that I can play with the best players at the college level. He has a mentality that rubs off on everyone that he coaches, and I think that is why Ohio State has been so successful over the past decade. I wouldn’t be where I am without the both of them.
USTA.com: What goals do you have for yourself and for your team this season?
Peter Kobelt: The goal for myself is to be the best teammate I can be. I only have a few more months of college tennis, and I want them to be special. As a team, our goal is to win the Big Ten and go deep into the NCAA Tournament. I think that this year’s team has great chemistry, and we have the chance to do something special.
USTA.com: What are your plans after graduation?
Peter Kobelt: I plan on playing out on the tour for as long as I can. I would like to see how I measure up against some of the best players in the world. Once I’m done with tennis, I would like to attend graduate school and obtain an MBA from Ohio State.
What is the best thing about Ohio State and being a Buckeye?
Peter Kobelt: The people, the tradition, the excellence. We have one of the strongest fan bases in all of college athletics. It seems like everywhere we go we run into alumni, and they always shout out an “O-H,” and we give them an “I-O” back. We also have some of the oldest and richest traditions in the country. There is nothing bigger than the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. And lastly, we take pride in our success. We have 36 varsity sports, and we are pretty darn good at all of them.
USTA.com: What advice do you have for junior tennis players who want to play in college?
Peter Kobelt: I would say to take all five of your visits and make sure you are happy with your decision. When you walk onto the campus for the first time, you will know if it’s right for you. Always go with your heart.