The No. 22 ranked men’s tennis team has high expectations for the season. Among those leading the way is senior Carlos Benito. He was recruited to Tech from Madrid, Spain, and his leadership this season will no doubt be a factor in the Jackets’ success.
Last weekend at Auburn, each team had 3 points going into the final match. Benito dropped the first set 6-7, but he stormed back and won the next two sets 6-0, 6-3. A victory in his match clinched a 4-3 victory for Tech. Throughout his career at Tech, Benito has established himself as a formidable player in both the singles and doubles formats. As a freshman and as a sophomore, he played doubles alongside Eduardo Segura. Segura graduated from Tech two years ago, but he is one of the reasons Benito is on the team right now. Both hail from Madrid, Spain, and both graduated high school from les Ortega y Gasset. The two formed one of the top doubles teams in the nation, ranking No. 15 at their peak.
His junior year, Benito and No. 4 ranked Christopher Eubanks earned a ranking of No. 36 together. As an individual, Benito ended last season as No. 110 in the ITA national mens’ singles rankings. Overall, Benito has 61 career singles wins and 52 career wins in doubles.
This season, Benito has nine singles wins and nine doubles wins. As an individual, he is No. 73 in the ITA national rankings and the partnership of Benito and Eubanks rank No. 14 in doubles. Tech is currently ranked No. 22, but sustained success from players like Bonito will keep the arrow pointing upward.
Benito talked to the Technique this week about clinching match at Auburn last weekend, his inspiration to play tennis, what drew him to Tech and his goals for the season.
Technique: First of all, congratulations on the win at Auburn. How do you deal with the pressure of playing in the deciding match?
Benito: I like that kind of pressure. I’m kind of used to it by now, and I like it.
Technique: What’s the mindset you were in after you lost the first set?
Benito: Well that day, I thought I lost that set because of my form. I didn’t think the other player was better than me during that set, so I knew that in the second set I just needed to fix a few things and I would be fine. That’s what happened and I won 6-0 the next set. Then he started playing a little bit better in the third.
Technique: How long have you been playing tennis and what makes you enjoy it so much?
Benito: I’ve been playing tennis since I was 12 years old, and that’s what I’ve been doing basically all my life.
Technique: Do you have any professional tennis players that you admire and try to pattern your game after?
Benito: Well my favorite tennis players are Rafael Nadal, Federer and [Novak] Djokovic. I try to pick something from each of them.
Technique: What do you view as the greatest strength in your game?
Benito: My forehand.
Technique: How did you hear about Georgia Tech, and what drew you to the school?
Benito: Well there used to be a former player. He’s was my friend from Spain, Eduardo Segura. He used to talk to me and tell me about the program and Georgia Tech in general.
Technique: What do you think of Atlanta?
Benito: I love it.
Technique: How do you balance Tech’s academics with your tennis obligations?
Benito: I think there is time to do everything. You just need to manage your time well, and I think that’s something I’m good at. I haven’t had a lot of problems with that.
Technique: What has been your favorite moment at Tech so far in your tennis career?
Benito: I clinched a few matches that were really good. In my sophomore year against No. 8 Duke, that was the biggest one for me. And then in the ACC Tournament that same year I clinched again against Virginia Tech in the quarters.
Technique: What are your goals for yourself and the team for the season?
Benito: For myself, I aim to try to play my best at all times and just help my team. It’s not about me; the main goal is for the team to continue to get as many victories as possible. And for the team, making it to the top 16 will be important for the future.