The Raider senior captured the Central League singles championship last spring, posted a 16-2 record and helped Radnor reach the PIAA 3A team boys’ tennis championship finals. He will be playing tennis for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute next fall.
Q: What do you think has been your best match of your Radnor career, what is your sharpest memory if it, and what was working particularly well for you that day?
A: My sharpest memory was beating [Unionville’s] Tristan Bradley in the semi-finals of team States. I was the deciding match to determine whether the team would move on to the finals and I was able to pull it out in a close two sets (6-2, 7-6(4)). I played smart and grinded, and after the victory, my team was jumping all over me.
Q: What aspect of your game did you work on most during the past winter? What were you hoping to achieve this spring?
A: The past winter I mainly worked on solidifying my forehand and staying focused during and in between points. I was hoping to get to states this year and possibly even winning as I was playing some of the best tennis of my career.
Q: What are your thoughts about the cancellation of the spring tennis season because of the COVID-19 situation? How did you see your leadership role during the weeks leading up to the cancellation?
A: I am very upset about the cancellation of the tennis season because I was playing some of my best tennis and it was honestly what I was looking forward to the most for my senior year. I was excited to lead my team as far as possible to make it a great year.
Q: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after any of them?
A: One of my favorite tennis players is Sasha Zverev, and even though my level is quite far from his, I love his aggressive game and I tend to use my serve just like he does in order to get my opponent out of position and then take advantage of a weak return.
Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game are you currently working on the most?
A: The strongest parts of my game are my serve and forehand. Although my forehand is a weapon, it can also be inconsistent and I have been working to increase heaviness over power as it is much more effective in rallies.
Q: Who have been your top tennis mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from them?
A: My [personal] coach, Dylan Comerford, is the main reason I have come this far in tennis. He’s helped me with every aspect of my game from mental to physical, along with the basics.
Q: What attracted you to Rensselaer? What will you be majoring in?
A: The tennis coach at RPI, Jon Satkowski, invited me to tour the campus and spend the night with the team. I loved the team and the coach, and the smaller sized campus and high level engineering convinced me to apply. I will be majoring in aerospace engineering.
Fun facts – Max Safanov
Favorite TV show: Friends.
Favorite movie: Aquaman.
Favorite athlete: Sasha Zverev.
Favorite place to visit: St. Petersburg, Russia.
Favorite pre-match meal: Sub or hoagie.
Family members: parents Valeriy and Tatyana, younger brother Alex Safanov.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)
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