The Episcopal Academy junior finished in first place at second singles at the recent Inter-Ac Tournament, winning her championship final match by a score of 8-2. Undefeated in league play, and an All-Inter-Ac tennis player, she is a fine all-around athlete who participates in track in the spring. Off the court, she participates in EA’s French Club, China Club, Speak Up, Drug and Alcohol Awareness Club, Model UN, as well as the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS).
Q: You mentioned that your best match of the Inter-Ac Tournament was the championship finals . Tell us a little about the match – what was your most vivid memory of it?
A: During the match I felt very confident and focused, and knew I could win it. My most vivid memory was the last point of the match. I hit a serve and my opponent wasn’t able to return it, and in that moment I realized that I had won. It was an amazing feeling that I’ll never forget.
Q: Tell us a little about the “212°” emblazoned across the back of each EA player’s shirt, which encourages them to be 1 degree better than they think they can be. What does this concept mean to you, and how do you motivate yourself to being that 1 degree better when doing fitness or a difficult drill in practice?
A: “212°” has become the motto of the tennis team because it captures all of the energy and effort we put in to improving our tennis games every day. It doesn’t matter if we are playing an important match or drilling in practice, we always strive to go the extra degree because you never know when it will transform you from a good player to a great one.
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 think the strongest part of my game is my forehand, my serve, and my shot placement. I’m currently working on my shot variety and piecing all of the elements of my game together.
Q: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after any of them?
A: My favorite tennis players are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Sloane Stephens, and Madison Keys. I think that my game most resembles that of Sloane Stephens, because she is very good at getting one more ball back and she moves well around the court.
Q: What do you think has been your best match of the season (to date)? What was particularly working well for you in that match?
A: I think my best match of the season was against Germantown Academy. I lost the first set, but I didn’t give up. Instead, I dug in and kept fighting and I ended up winning the next two sets. That match was challenging, but the tougher the match, the more satisfying it is to walk away from it knowing you gave it your all and it paid off.
Q: Who have been your top tennis mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from them?
A: My tennis mentors have been all of my teammates ever since I joined the team in eighth grade. Especially when I was one of the youngest members of the team, I really looked up to the older players to learn from them what it is like to play on a team. Tennis can easily be a very individual sport, but with this team, all the players form strong bonds with each other. The most important thing I learned is the importance of working for the good of the team and supporting my teammates.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.
A: Most of our matches are played in August and September when it is still very hot outside so the most important thing for me to do before a match is to hydrate. I also like to listen to music before a match to pump myself up.
Q: What is your favorite tennis venue, and why?
A: My favorite tennis venue is the U.S. Open. My family and I drive up to New York to go watch the matches every year. The atmosphere there is really special and it is amazing to be able to see the players and the high level matches.
Q: What is your favorite academic subject at Episcopal Academy? Is there a career path that particularly appeals to you at the present time?
A: My favorite subject is science. I am taking both Physics and AP Biology this year and I think that I would like to pursue a career path in medicine.
Fun facts – Bella Calastri
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy.
Favorite movie: Hidden Figures.
Favorite athlete: Roger Federer.
Favorite place to visit: U.S. Open.
Favorite pre-match meal: pasta.
Favorite color: blue.
Person I most admire, and why: “I admire my mom, because she is the one who introduced me to tennis and the one who has most supported my tennis career.”
(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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