Meadowdale’s Ben Fahey plays doubles against Marysville Pilchuck on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Totem Middle School. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Meadowdale’s Ben Fahey plays doubles against Marysville Pilchuck on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Totem Middle School. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Q&A with Meadowdale boys tennis player Ben Fahey

The Mavericks’ senior enjoys coding and wakeboarding.

For the first month of the 2019 regular season, Ben Fahey occupied his regular position as the No. 1 singles player for the Meadowdale boys tennis team.

But with the postseason beginning Oct. 22 with the Wesco 3A South Tournament at Jackson High School, Fahey, along with Mavericks teammate and fellow senior Chase Harmon, transitioned from singles players to a doubles team. It’s a common tactic among area players when they determine playing doubles is an easier route to postseason success than staying in singles.

“There’s some pretty tough talent coming into the postseason in singles,” Fahey said.

After a straight-set victory over Marysville Getchell’s Luke Olason and Mikah Marshall on Tuesday in their first match as a doubles pairing, Fahey and Harmon faced a tougher test Thursday against the Marysville Pilchuck’s athletic tandem of Aaron Kalab and Treven Southard.

“Their athletic ability was a big factor in them being able to hang with Chase and I,” Fahey said. “They were able to get to balls that other players wouldn’t have been able to get to. We had to work hard to find those shots that they wouldn’t be able to get to.”

Fahey and Harmon pulled out a tight three-set victory, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (7), and will look to use the experience gained from that match to propel them forward as a tandem.

The Herald spoke with Fahey last week to discuss his tennis career, his college plans and his love of wakeboarding.

How did you get started playing tennis?

Both my parents play tennis, and they got me into it at a young age. I would do toddler hits at Harbor Square (Athletic Club in Edmonds), but I didn’t get serious until around eighth grade. I played at Klahaya Swim & Tennis Club in Edmonds during the summer and it helped me advance my game.

Describe your playing style. What makes you a tough opponent?

I’ve heard from various people that I have one of the strongest serves in Wesco. My fastest serve is just over 100 miles per hour. It’s pretty hard to return, and the style I play takes players a long time to get used to. And by the time you do, it’s already too late. I like to hit from the baseline. I used to not have great volleys, but now I come in a lot after my serve. It’s good to do a combination of both.

Compare and contrast playing singles and doubles. Is your ideal doubles partner someone who has a similar style to yours, or someone who has different strengths?

I think my ideal partner would be someone who can place shots to where they need to be and set me up to put the ball away at the net. Chase and I are going to work just fine together. We both play a similar style, with strong forehands and serves. Doubles is a lot more fun, and I’d like to play doubles in college.

Outside of tennis, what else are you passionate about?

My family and friends, and I’m just starting to pick up guitar, but I really enjoy wakeboarding. I get out on the water as much as I can. My family has a cabin on Lake Chelan, and my cousin and I spent almost every day for two weeks this summer on the lake. I’m even looking at a couple of colleges that have wakeboarding teams.

What are your plans for after graduation? Do you plan to keep playing tennis after high school?

I’m definitely looking at the University of Arizona and Washington State. I’m torn, because it would be cheaper to stay in state, but Arizona is nice and warm and you can just be outside playing tennis all day. I’ve already applied, and now I’ve gotta wait and see. I’m looking at playing on the club tennis team (in college). It’s just as competitive, and guys are looking to play college-level tennis. I’m looking at majoring in computer science and maybe minoring in business. My dad is in IT, so computers have been in my life for a long time. I enjoy coding.

It’s fascinating that tennis players in the area serve as their own officials for matches, even in the postseason. Can it get awkward if there’s a difference of opinion on an in or out call?

If there are players calling cheap shots, you can bring on coaches to do line calls. … If I have to hesitate about whether a ball is in or out, I just give the point to the other person. I try to be nice about it.

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