Player Profiles: Kerri Delmonico and Aila Main

Kerrie Delmonico and Aila Main
Kerrie Delmonico and Aila Main

When longtime platform tennis player and friend Dan McCormick introduced Kern Delmonico to platform tennis eight years ago, she had no idea of the sport’s addicting nature. Coming from a family with two brothers and one sister Kern grew up in a competitive environment. She explained, “In platform tennis, I enjoy the team aspect, but in the end it’s all about the competition!”" Kern had a few consistent partners and would achieve a consistent top five ranking year by year. I feel that I have stepped up a level this past year,” Kern commented. She added, “Aside from reading the player tips and strategy in Platform Tennis Magazine, I think the biggest factor to my success is that my boyfriend Mike (Stulac) is rubbing off on me.” Mike (the 2005 Men’s Open Champion) and Kern have been dating for the past two years. In addition to platform, Kern is an accomplished tennis player. She discussed the differences she sees between the two sports. “Platform tennis requires patience! About 90 percent of platform points are lost outright as opposed to tennis where you can hit a winning forehand and quickly end the point.” She added, “Be humble and listen to experienced paddle players… You can’t expect to immediately be number 1 in the country lust because you have experienced tremendous success in tennis. Paddle demands patience’

Aila Main grew up playing highly competitive tennis in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. As a junior she played the Fed Cup for Croatia. After moving to the states, Aila graduated from Princeton University and Hastings Law and moved to New York City. Three years ago, Kerrie and Aila met at lunch through a mutual friend. Having become best of friends, they laugh as they recall their first impression dislike of each other. Kerrie recalled, “We began playing together at Town Tennis for the next couple of years before we decided to become partners.” Although Aila was an instant success on the court, she credits friends for her rapid improvement. “I have been lucky enough to play with people who are a lot better than me, who have been willing to give me advice, and there is no faster way to learn.” When asked about the carry-over from tennis Aila explained, “I am still relatively new to platform tennis, so I am still working out the strategic similarities and differences From tennis. The obvious major difference is the way the points set up. The instinct to try to put the ball away is very strong for most tennis players, and you have to forget that in platform. It really feels like more of a chess match sometimes the move that wins or loses the point happened three or four shots prior” She added, “This game is a great sport for tennis players of all levels. I would recommend that tennis pros and avid players find a fun group of people and just get out there and play!” She concluded, “Personally, I play because I love the people, I love being outside in winter, and I enjoy the competition. Paddle seems to attract a singularly terrific group of people, and I feel very fortunate to be involved in the sport.”

When asked about the future, Kerrie answered, “I would love to win another national championship but if I do nothing more than just compete well that’s good enough for me.” Aila concurred, “My goal is simply to play the game as long as I can. I just love it.”

Source: Platform Tennis Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue 5, April, 2005