Beyond the Tennis Court: Camille De Leon
Student Writer: Kyle Nault
Competing with undeniable poise while navigating the Cal State Fullerton's women's tennis team through her first season, Camille De Leon has managed to lead the Titan's with her mindset and in the win column.
At just 18 years old, the Titans' upcoming tennis star is 8-2 in her last 10 matches.
A homegrown product from nearby La Habra, De Leon attributes most of her immediate success to her focus and intensity as she navigates through the remainder of the 2014 schedule.
"You have to stay mentally tough, because once you're not in the match, it just doesn't go your way," De Leon said. "You have to stay in the match, stay in the present, focus on what you need to do, and the outcome will take care of the rest."
To go along with her mental toughness, De Leon is just as aggressive on the court in terms of her playing style.
"I would describe (my playing style) as a powerful baseliner," De Leon said. "Once in a while, I get crafty with drop shots, slices, but right now I am working on just being consistent."
Aggressive baseline style relies upon angles and power to keep the opponent moving, giving the opponent a difficult time to attempt to score points, and leaving them with less than enough power to return the ball over the net.
Often times this playing style is difficult to achieve a level of consistency due to the hard angles a player must hit the ball to score.
However, for the rookie, consistency doesn't seem to be hard to come by as she's been standing on the baseline from a young age.
At just 4 years old, De Leon started playing tennis with her father at La Mirada Park. She credits him as the true inspiration for her decision to pursue a tennis career, and also where she learned the demanding technical aspects of the game.
"He's basically been my coach throughout my whole life," De Leon said, "Without him I don't think I would have reached this far."
To further hone the game's technicalities, the young tennis prodigy also jumped around from several different tennis academies throughout her teenage years where she trained under a wide array of coaches.
In 2009, De Leon started her high school tennis career at Troy High School, located just across the street from Cal State Fullerton.
While at Troy, De Leon played varsity tennis for four years, taking home a Freeway League girls' singles championship in 2012 as well as league player of the year in 2011.
Now jumping forward to the 2014 season, De Leon has solidified herself as force to be reckoned with. She has become an immediate boost to the Cal State Fullerton women's tennis program not only as an individual player, but also as a leader for the entire team.
"She comes to practice everyday and she brings it," head coach Dianne Matias said. "She doesn't sell you short, she's always there working hard, and she's really positive. Even though she's a freshman, she brings a lot to our team."
The team has upcoming matches with the likes of Georgetown, Furman, and University of San Diego.
"You have to have faith in yourself and believe that you can do it," De Leon said, "That's really important in doing well in playing tennis."