The junior No. 3 singles player was undefeated in her Inter-Ac regular season tennis matches this fall, and Baldwin tennis head coach Jeff Sacks notes her rapid improvement: “As a freshman, Francesca was No. 1 singles on junior varsity; last year she studied abroad in Belgium and played a a lot of tennis there; so in virtually one year of competition at Baldwin she improved eight spots – that amount of improvement doesn’t happen often.”
Q: What do you attribute your rapid improvement to?
A: I’m a much stronger singles player than I am doubles so it made sense to me that [as a freshman] I was high on JV singles rather than low on varsity doubles. I feel that I improved a lot in Belgium, learning different techniques from having different coaches, and the fact I played more matches in Belgium than I had in previous years made my mental [approach] a lot tougher.
Q: Off the court, what was your most memorable experience in Belgium? What surprised you most about Belgium?
A: I was surprised about how much it rained! One day I went into Brussels with some friends from school and we just walked around the old town – my friends were of my guides> It was great to see the buildings and see how beautiful the city is.
Q: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after any of them?
A: I love Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka. My coaches say I should look at the way Azarenka plays because they say that I kind of have the same style as her.
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: I would say my ground strokes are the strongest part of my game, although I have days when my forehand is better and then others when my backhand is better, so it really depends. I like playing the net though, too. Recently, I’ve been working on approach shots a lot, to be able to finish the point.
Q: Who have been your top tennis mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from them?
A: Pascal Collard was my coach, and he has always given me motivation, told me I could do better, and pushed me to improve, which I’m very grateful of. I learned that the mental game is just as important as the physical part of tennis, because if you don’t believe in yourself or know how to calm yourself down, you aren’t going to win.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.
A: I don’t really have a specific pre-match preparation. I just get focused on the court when warming up with my opponent. If it’s a big match, I usually get all the nervousness out when warming up with my team.
Q: What is your favorite tennis venue, and why?
A: As a spectator, I really like Wimbledon because of the grass courts and the fact that it’s very English, because I’m from England I like that aspect. As a player, I prefer to play on clay courts because its easy to slide and I just prefer it in general to hard court.
Fun facts – Francesca Douglas
Favorite author: Agatha Christie.
Favorite TV show: Blacklist.
Favorite movie: “Most action movies, or comedies like the Avengers movies.”
Favorite book: “I don’t really have a favorite specific book, I like different kinds.”
Favorite athlete: “David Beckham is my favorite athlete, because I used to play soccer and I always loved him.”
Favorite pre-match pump-up song: “We play a shuffle of pump-up songs as we are warming up as a team.”
Favorite colors: Blue, grey.
Person I most admire:”I admire my brother Alexander because of how brave and courageous he is, he’s had a lot to deal with as a teenager and I admire him for that.”
Birth date: Jan. 19, 2000.
Family members: brother Alexander, parents Madeleine and Mark.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)
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