At age 40, Denis was in poor physical condition. He lived in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. and had a golf partner who was the Athletic Director at Lake Superior State University. For his birthday in 1973, at his recommendation, he received a traditional wood-framed tennis racquet with a graphite laminate. Denis played indoor and outdoor at the LSSU hockey complex. His favorite athletes at that time were hockey and baseball players, but later became a fan of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.
Denis moved to Manistee, MI in 1986 and played recreational tennis, but the courts were poor and there was no structure and few players. He was president of a small bank and spent much of his time on community affairs, serving as Chamber of Commerce President, College Trustee, and others. Denis was named Citizen of the year in 1988.
In 2013 Denis and his wife (Ruth) moved to Florida full-time, and joined the Peace River Tennis League. With 700 members, they played travel tennis with teams ranging from Venice to Fort Myers. Denis served as a tennis captain for five years.
In 2019, Denis and Ruth moved to Timber Pines and he joined the Tennis Club. After Dick Gaddis retired from heading the Friday morning tennis group, Denis took the helm. With team members of 28, they have continued year-round play. Ruth is a golfer, who has achieved two aces at Timber Pines. Denis quit to devote his time to tennis, although both of his sons are PGA Professionals.
Denis Et-All are beginning a Travel Team for Timber Pines. Denis agrees with the newly elected President of the Tennis Club, Mary Anne Apone who wishes to see the tennis members expanding their horizons. The Travel Team will play their first match at Heritage Pines this month, and see how to go forward from there. Timber Pines is doing a major renovation of the Tennis facility, and it will become a better venue for all players and spectators. Denis sees a renewed interest in tennis post-Covid, and hopes to help in continuing to move it forward.
Denis is a 78 year old Vietnam Era veteran, a B player who has always wanted to be an A. Denis words of advice: “Time is running out! Join us on the way up!”
- By Ace Reporter Josephine