By Jeff Steers
(October 10, 2021 8:00 AM) Imagine some of the looks that Columbia Central High School boys’ tennis coach Dana Daniels got when she lobbied for a seeding at the regional meeting for a No. 1 singles tennis player with only five matches this season.
Fortunately for the longtime CCHS tennis leader, some of the other coaches also sang the praises of Daniel Pero.
It only took three matches for Daniels – and the other coaches – to be proven correct.
Pero won three matches – giving up only one set – in winning the regional title at No. 1 singles last week. He will represent Columbia Central starting on Friday at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 state finals at the University of Michigan tennis complex.
Pero is 8-0 on the season having won a majority of his matches 6-0. Originally from Brooklyn and living for a period of time in Allen Park, Pero and his family returned to the area last year after one year in England and four years in Germany.
Along the way, Pero and his brother were professionally trained in tennis.
“I started playing tennis at age 6,” Pero said. “My brother found it (tennis) and fell in love with it.
“And I followed him.”
His brother, Anthony, plays tennis on the Michigan State University team.
Daniel attended an academy ran by former Wimbledon players in England and an academy in Germany for four years.
Pero studied on-line for a year before attending CCHS this fall. He got a late start on the season and the team had their final five matches canceled due to weather – hence his low number of matches.
One thing that is not low, it Pero’s serve. The CCHS sophomore has a strong serve, hitting it more than 100 miles per hour according to one of his coaches.
But Pero said accuracy is more important than speed when it comes to serving.
“A lot of people just try to hit it (serves) hard,” Pero said. “I am hitting it to their weaker side … that is the plan.”
It appears to be working for Pero heading into the state finals this week.
“I am hoping to win it (the state tournament) … but I don’t know the level of the other players,” Pero said. “We have looked at other records (of other players) and some of them have 30 to 35 matches.”
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