MARYSVILLE — Behind the giggles and shy demeanor is a state-caliber tennis player.
Marysville Getchell junior singles player Marina Ciferri went 13-1, placing first in the Wesco 3A North in her regular season.
She then placed third at districts to earn her first-ever opportunity to compete in the state tournament in Kennewick May 29.
She’s really glad to have made it, albeit she’s a little nervous.
To combat her jitters Ciferri needs to “continue to feed into the mindset that she’s earned the right to go there,” coach Andrew Christopher said.
“Her mental strength has improved throughout the season,” he said. “It’s the attitude that she knows she’s the best player around.”
As a sophomore she was awarded the “silent assassin” at her sports banquet when she placed fifth in districts.
“She is so humble and doesn’t like to talk about how good she is,” Christopher said.
She was “forced into the sport” to stay active by her parents.
But Ciferri wasn’t a natural.
Marina began tennis in middle school and was “bullied” for not being good at it. She used that as her drive to improve her game.
Now Ciferri has proved “she can hang with anyone in the league,” Christopher said.
One of the things Ciferri struggled with was getting to the net because she was afraid of the ball.
It was a “three year project,” to get her closer to the net, Christopher said.
She is still afraid of the ball, she said, but it works to her advantage.
That’s because Marina is a “crusher.” She prefers to use her range to exploit “extreme angles” to get the upper hand.
She prides herself on her backhand; she is able to use both arms for power.
It also helps that she has incredible stamina, Christopher said.
“I don’t give up, and I can hit the ball forever,” she said.
Ciferri hits shots to take her opponents out of position.
“She can keep the ball in play all day and outlast her opponent,” Christopher sad. “She trusts her shots at the baseline and can hit a winner.”
Ciferri is a “court rat,” Christopher said. She plays tennis all year long at the Columbia Athletic Club in Mill Creek.
“She’s late to tennis practice sometimes because she is playing tennis,” he said.
During the summer, Ciferri plays doubles with her friends but prefers singles when playing competitively.
“I’m really nervous during doubles because I’m afraid I’ll make my friend mad if I miss a shot,” she said.
What makes tennis enjoyable for Ciferri is that she doesn’t “think about it competitively,” she said. “It’s just fun.”
She plans to play tennis for the University of Washington where she will major in medicine. Right now she works and attends Running Start at Everett Community College on top of being a princess for the Marysville Strawberry Festival.
“It will all be worth it in the end,” she said.