A junior, Vernier is the No. 1 singles player for the Aces this spring, and finished second in the Central League singles championship April 5, after winning a three-set, 2 1/2 hour match in the semifinals. Last spring, as a sophomore, he placed third at the PIAA District One singles championship. A versatile performer, he competed in the PIAA District One doubles championship as a freshman. A fan of classical music, he plays in the Lower Merion Orchestra.
Main Line Media News: What, to you, has been the highlight of your Lower Merion tennis career to date? Can you share with us your most vivid memory of that experience? Simon Vernier: For me, the highlight would definitely have to be beating Conestoga earlier this year. Even though it was only a regular season match, it was a huge confidence booster for our team. The whole match came down to one point being played out in a doubles match. Our whole team was cheering together, and I truly felt that we had come together as a team in that moment.
Main Line Media News: What do you think has been your best match of the season so far? What was particularly working well for you that day?Simon Vernier: I would say my best match of the season so far was my Central League singles semifinal against Eric Yen of Conestoga. Eric is a great player who has always gotten the better of me in the past, and on that day I was able to really rely on my first serve. Because of my very solid serving in that match, I was able to play a very offensive style of tennis, which allowed me to win the match.
Main Line Media News: You've had success at both singles and doubles for Lower Merion. What do you think are the key factors that make a successful singles player, as compared to a successful doubles player?Simon Vernier: I think the biggest difference is that in singles you're out on court by yourself. In singles if you are having a bad day, there is nobody but yourself to figure out a solution. In some ways, being a successful singles player requires mental fortitude and confidence in your ability. Doubles, on the other hand, requires clear communication and teamwork between the two partners.
Main Line Media News: What do you think is the strongest part of your game?Simon Vernier: My strongest asset is my forehand shot. This is the shot I use to dictate play and finish points.
Main Line Media News: What part of your game are you particularly working on at present?Simon Vernier: I've been spending a lot of time working on my footwork, trying to be more efficient with my movements. I'm also trying to stay lower to the court while I hit my ground strokes.
Main Line Media News: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after any of them?Simon Vernier: Kei Nishikori, from Japan, is my favorite player currently. I've been trying to emulate his patience and his ability to construct points.
Main Line Media News: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.Simon Vernier: I stay hydrated and stretch throughout the day. I also try to visualize the points and come up with game plans that target my opponent's weaknesses.
Main Line Media News: What colleges are among your current favorites? What do you think you'd like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly appeals to you right now?Simon Vernier: Swarthmore is definitely one of my favorites. It would be great to play there especially because my brother is currently on the team. To be honest, I'm not sure about a major now — I'm just focusing on my tennis and enjoying school now.
Simon Vernier's favorites
Book: Ender's Game.
Author: Alexandre Dumas.
TV show: Game of Thrones.Pre-match pump-up song: Lose Yourself, by Eminem.Athlete: Yu Darvish.
Historical figures (past and/or present): "Winston Churchill, because he was a strong leader who stood up for what he believed in.'
Team: Arsenal Football Club.
Place to visit: "It's a tie between visiting my families in France and Japan.'
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)