on double duty in Orlando
Arthur Kapetanakis | June 20, 2019
After winning a match tiebreaker to book her spot in the ITF Orlando Tennis Series singles main draw, Maddie Kobelt walked across the USTA National Campus to check on some potential recruits at the USTA All-American College Combine, which is being hosted concurrently at the 64-acre facility.
A former Syracuse standout, Kobelt (pictured above, right) is now an assistant coach for the Kenyon College men’s and women’s teams in her native Ohio. Since her 2015 graduation, she has been playing on the ITF Tour while also training and teaching lessons at the New Albany Tennis Center, where her father, Paul, is the owner and director of tennis.
Kobelt joined the staff at nearby Kenyon in September 2018 and has just completed her first full season as a collegiate coach. The Lords (men's team) ended the 2018-19 season at No. ADVERTISEMENT 11 in the ITA Division III rankings, while the Ladies (women) finished at No. 14.
“I was interested in college coaching potentially further down the line,” she explained, “but the timing just lined up to do it now. It’s been a blessing; it’s been really cool.”
In addition to her coaching efforts, she often plays in practice and individual hitting sessions with both teams and also takes advantage of the school's athletic center, which features a gym, swimming pool, indoor track and four indoor tennis courts, to stay in shape.
“There’s a lot of versatility,” she said of the setup. “It’s about first doing the coaching job and then making time for yourself.”
The new role as a college coach also helps Kobelt in competition, thanks to her time spent observing and analyzing practices and matches.
“It's the things that I’ve seen them make improvements on, or the things that I tend to tell them, like, ‘Keep it simple.’ I’m like, ‘OK, listen to yourself out here.’
“Or the other coaches, things that they say, and I’m like, ‘Oh, they said to do that. I need to try to do that.’ Actually putting into action the things that I’m learning from coaching has been very helpful on the court.”
After a successful first year balancing coaching the teams and training herself, Kobelt plans to return to the Division III school for the 2019-20 campaign. She also plans to continue her playing career, though she evaluates that decision on a yearly basis, based on her game and ranking, and “if you still feel the love for competing and wanting to play and pursue your dream.”
Kobelt has won 11 ITF doubles titles, all since 2015, including four in 2018.
Her older brother, Peter, also competes on the ITF Tour and is a former Ohio State Buckeye, while younger brother Alex will be a red-shirt senior next season on Ohio State men's team.
At the Orlando Open, a USTA Pro Circuit and ITF World Tennis Tour W15 event, Kobelt notched three singles wins (two in qualifying) before falling in the main-draw second round. She is also entered in the doubles main draw, with Canadian Louise Kwong, where she will be seeking her first title of 2019.
(Photo courtesy of Kenyon College)