Getting to Know Independent’s Jacob Maddox
Maddox, a senior, has won two Class 3-2-1A doubles titles, winning in 2013 and 2011 with Sam McCoy. Maddox has his sights on a third doubles title with a new partner. He also has a 4.0 GPA and plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis with a long-term goal of becoming a college professor.
You won doubles with Sam McCoy as a freshman, played singles as a sophomore and then won doubles again with McCoy. How special was that?
“It was extremely special. Sam became one of my best friends. My freshman year coming into high school, I didn’t have a whole lot of great friends, but the tennis team became my group of friends. Sam, after going through tough times in matches, we really bonded together. Then to do it my junior year, it was a really special moment.”
After playing singles for your whole career heading into high school, how was the switch to doubles?
“I didn’t really have high expectations. I thought I was going to be playing singles. I was still playing a lot of Missouri Valley tournaments, and I had only played singles to that point in my life.… After the first tournament me and Sam played together, we realized we would make a good doubles team. Now I really love doubles more than singles. It complements my game. I have a pretty good serve that’s not quite amazing for singles; it doesn’t get them to miss the return. But for doubles, I’ll make them not hit a good return and it will be one my partner can pick off at the net and hit a volley winner.”
In what way does having a doubles partner help your game?
“I really enjoy the aspect of having another person on the court with me for emotional support and motivation. You know you’re on a team when you’re in singles, but it’s more apparent when you’re on a team with someone on the court. In singles, you’re on an island. If you’re in a tough match, you have your coach to talk to you on every changeover, but it can be lonely or frurstrating, especially if the self talk isn’t that positive. A partner can keep you positive.”
Is tennis as important to you as it once was?
“In middle school, I was really into tennis. I played pretty much every day, two, two-and-a-half hours, playing Missouri Valley tournaments on weekends. It was my main activity in life, and freshman year it was still that way.
“I think it happens to a lot of peple, but I started to get burned out. I started to not like the sport as much.”
What did you do in response to that?
“I played that season (at Independent), and it was so amazing, and I loved the team aspect and I loved it again. Then that summer, in the solitary aspect of tennis, I started not to like it again. I started to take some time off. I realized I didn’t want to do it competitively outside the (high school) season. Pretty much ever since then, I play the high school season and I play a handful of times through the rest of the year, but it’s more recreational.”
It’s different when you play for a team, isn’t it?
“High school tennis is when I enjoy tennis the most. When it’s with my friends, the people I love. After doing so many individual tournaments, it can be hard to motivate yourself and see what the point was. When it’s for my school and team, it’s not hard at all to really play hard for the people I love.”