The Day's All-Area Boys' Tennis Player of the Year: Old Lyme's George Danes
George Danes is an early riser, even on Saturday morning.
Sometimes he’s up running the treadmill by 6 a.m. Later, he’ll head out to play tennis.
He likes to stay active.
“I learned that you waste so much of the day,” said Danes, an Old Lyme High School senior. “In the morning, you can do so much. I should be able to do more things. … Why waste your day sitting on your butt just watching TV?”
One exception is when his beloved Notre Dame football team is playing on television in the fall. That is must-see TV for Danes.
His drive and work ethic help separate him from the pack, according to Old Lyme coach Andrew Tyrol.
“He has a lot of energy, good energy,” Tyrol said. “He was amazing to have on the team. He really inspired his teammates to play better and work harder. Pretty inspirational and motivational kid.”
No one in the Shoreline Conference was better than Danes, who went undefeated in singles action for the third regular season in a row. He earned all-state honors and received his third straight All-Shoreline Conference first team selection. He repeated as the conference’s singles champion.
Danes was selected as The Day’s 2021 All-Area Boys’ Tennis Player of the Year, also receiving that honor in 2019.
He’s put in the hard work over the years to become a force on the court. He plays year round. He also takes care of himself off the court, focusing on proper eating habits and exercise.
“He works hard to get in shape and to be the best tennis player that he can be,” Tyrol said. “I think he’s got some natural athleticism with his height and he’s also left-handed, so that helps as well. His work ethic is really what it is. He’s up early and he’s grinding.”
Danes takes tennis seriously and does whatever he can to improve.
“I started working on my game more,” Danes said. “I’ve been going to my school and just serving over and over again, making sure the toss is right and making sure everything is going right and then playing with my coach to get better and better. Working on the things that I need to work on.”
Losses are hard for Danes to digest.
He had high hopes for the Wildcats in the Class S state tournament but Old Lyme lost to East Catholic 4-3 in the quarterfinals.
Danes also is bothered by his own loss in the State Open, being eliminated in the second round.
The early exit motivated him to work even harder.
“I had a good season but I’m not happy with the way I lost in the Open,” Danes said. “I just didn’t play aggressive enough and that cost me. I should have beaten him. I was breaking him apart. If I kept at him, he would have lost to me.
“... Now I’m working on my serve every day and I’m playing a lot and getting better.”
Danes will miss being part of the Old Lyme tennis program as much the program will miss him.
Tyrol says Danes belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Old Lyme tennis players. He praised Danes, a team captain, for his leadership.
Danes truly cares about the program.
“He’s all about the Old Lyme program, for sure, and connecting with some of the alumni, which is really cool to see,” Tyrol said. “Our assistant coach, Dan Koenigs, is one of those alumni. What was really cool is that Dan helped set up bringing a lot of the alumni back for that Westbrook match this year, which was a highly contested match that they ended up winning.
“George was just beyond ecstatic and excited to see those older alumni players that have such great legacies like Morgan White and Brendan White. He really believes strongly in that legacy so I’m kind of excited to see how he does at the college level at Endicott and see if he can start his own legacy there.”
Danes will attend and play tennis at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. He’ll study sports management.
This summer, Danes will spend the majority of his time on the tennis court. He’s working a tennis camp at Lyme Shores Tennis and Fitness in East Lyme. He’ll regularly work out and play tennis with friends.
He had a highly successful career and also a very enjoyable one.
“I love these four years with this team, even though we didn’t play last year,” Danes said. “These four years were some of the best memories of my life because it was so enjoyable just playing with these guys. It was a lot of fun being with them. They were a good group of guys.”
Year - George Danes (Old Lyme)
Tucker Callahan (Stonington)
Sujesh Kurumbail (East Lyme)
Julian Mileski (Ledyard)
Daniel Sapozhnikov (East Lyme)
Guillem Colom-Rohan Purohit (East Lyme)
Tim O'Brien-Regan Kaye (Old Lyme)
Tim Lynch-Aidan McLean (Fitch)