A senior, Cecilia Denis has been a first team All-Central League tennis selection at first singles for the past three years. Last fall, she was a first team All-Main Line girls’ tennis selection, posted a 12-2 record, was the Lower Merion team captain and was the Aces’ Most Valuable Player.
Q: What do you think was your best match last fall, and what was working particularly well for you that day?
A: My best match last year was against Pennsbury – this match took two days because of rain delays. The first day I was not playing very well – it was one of those days where it seems like nothing is working out like it should. I had lost the first set and I was down 4-2 in the second when it started to rain. The match was postponed and when we played again, I came back and won. My favorite matches are the ones where I fight back to win.
Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game have you worked on the most in the off-season?
A: The strongest part of my game is probably my ground strokes and baseline game. I also bring a lot of energy and positivity to the court. In the off-season I worked on a grip change on my forehand and changed my serve from a step in to a platform.
Q: Tell us a little about the biggest challenge you faced during the past 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic regarding keeping your game in shape, and how you dealt with that challenge.
A: The biggest challenge I faced during the past six months was probably staying in tennis shape. Tennis shape is a little bit different than physical shape. Physical shape can be maintained by working out and running, but tennis shape is very hard to maintain without being able to hit balls on a court. I was very fortunate that tennis was allowed before most other sports, because of how easily social distancing can be maintained while playing. I was able to get out there and hit safely with my hitting partner using different balls and maintaining 10-plus feet social distancing.
Q: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after any of them?
A: My three favorite tennis players are Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, and Venus Williams. I like them because of their attitude on the court. They are very positive players who almost never lose their temper on the court. I try to bring this attitude to the court every time I play, whether it be a match or a practice.
Q: Tell us a little about your start in tennis. Who have been your top tennis mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?
A: I started playing in clinics when I was four. My grandmother signed me up for clinics in a tiny tennis club in Rhode Island. My top tennis mentors have been Kellen Thomas and Dylan Comerford, my coaches for the past 10 years. I have learned so much from them, probably more than can ever be said – the thing that sticks out the most to me is the importance of hard work. This skill can be used on and off the tennis court and will be something I will be able to use for the rest of my life.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.
A: My pre-match preparation usually consists of eating, listening to music and warming up. I have had the same warm up for five years – at this point it’s just routine. What I eat before a match depends on the time of day that the match takes place but it is always between 1-2 hours before the match.
Q: What is your favorite tennis venue, and why?
A: My favorite tennis venue would be almost any place with hard indoor courts. It is the surface that I play on most often. My favorite place to play is HPTA (High Performance Tennis Academy) which is where I have trained year-round for the past 10 years.
Q: What is your favorite academic subject at Lower Merion? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly appeals to you at the present time?
A: My favorite academic subject at Lower Merion is Science, in particular Biology, Genetics and Anatomy. I think I would like to major in Biology, Marine Biology or pre-med. At the moment I think I want to be a doctor, possibly a pediatrician or a pediatric surgeon.
Q: Do you participate in another other extracurricular activities at Lower Merion other than tennis?
A: I am on the Ultimate Frisbee team for a nice change of pace and some fun.
Fun facts – Cecilia Denis
Favorite book: The Miseducation of Cameron Post.
Favorite author: JK Rowling.
Favorite TV show: Greys Anatomy.
Favorite movie: Spy.
Favorite athlete: Ashleigh Barty.
Favorite pre-match pump-up song: Tik Tok, by Kesha.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: Vermont.
Favorite pre-match meal: Ham and cheese sandwich.
(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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