Middle States

Dennis Graziano

Off-the-Court Impact


Off-the-Court Impact


Off-the-Court Impact

Some people make a difference on the tennis court without playing much tennis. That’s exactly the case with Dennis Graziano.

“I hit one tennis ball on one of the indoor courts, and almost took a light out,” he said. “That’s the extent of my tennis game.”

The impact he has on tennis players, though, goes far beyond that. 

Graziano, more commonly known as Graz, has held the senior park maintenance position at the Mercer County Park Tennis Center for the last nine years. He vacuums the indoor courts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He mows the grass and trims the edges. Anything that’s visible around the tennis center, Graz takes care of it.

Graz describes much of his work as cleaning up “the odds and ends” around the facility, but that doesn’t come close to doing it justice. Marc Vecchiolla, the Director of Tennis at Mercer County Tennis Facility, describes Graz as one-of-a-kind.

“The effort he puts into his job and the care he gives to this place is unmatched,” Vecchiolla said. ADVERTISEMENT “It can be a thankless job. He takes a lot of pride in our facility and I can’t imagine anyone doing it better.”

“It’s not thankless in my eyes,” said Graz, who turns 74 later this year. “Marc thanks me about five times every day. Just for doing my job.”

It seems anyone who speaks to Graz immediately takes a liking to him. People are regularly surprised at his age (74), often citing he doesn’t look older than 60. He credits that to his gym routine and his diet. Graz loves sharing stories about his family. Especially his grandkids and great-grandkids. 

“It’s still hard to believe I have great-grandkids,” he said with a laugh.

Regulars at the tennis center rarely walk by Graz without saying hello. Through that, he’s built meaningful relationships and friendships. 

When Graz retires at some point in 2020, that’s what he’ll miss most. 

“I love this job,” he said. “I wish I would have started working here sooner. I get to be outside in a nice setting with great people. You can’t beat it.”



Related Articles