I have been playing Tennis since I was 6 years old. I started playing with my brother at our local club and quickly fell in love with the sport. Tennis is not really mainstream or as popular as football or rugby, however, it is arguably more physically demanding and equally as tactical. I was so passionate about the sport I started playing tournaments at 7 years old. I represented my club at 8 and we won the 8 and Under Club League. As I grew older I maintained the determination to succeed. I represented Essex in the Under 10s, 12s and 14s. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get selected for the 16s but was selected for trials in the 18s.
Being selected for the county is always a good achievement as you are among a few people privileged enough to play other counties in national events. Essex repeatedly get into the first division, especially for U14s and U18s. However, they rarely win the whole thing due to the strength of other counties. Playing hundreds of tournaments over the years, all around the country, I have played in quarter finals, semi finals and finals. There are many special moments in my tennis career, like being selected for the U18s and winning tournaments against top ranked players. However, the main highlight was when I was 14 – I was asked to play for the club Woodford Wells and played the U18s Club Nationals at Roehampton: Britain’s National Tennis Centre. I won both my matches but the team as a collective lost overall. I also had a big tournament in 2014 where I had to play a higher rated and ranked person than me in the final and I managed to win as I possibly played the best tennis I have ever played. In that same tournament, I managed to knock out a high seeded player (higher than me) on my way to the final.
I think I will always want to play tennis even if eventually it is just for fun. Currently, for the second year, I am Canterbury’s no. 1 tennis player and captain and look to improve myself and the team. The Men’s first were undefeated last season and I believe I played a large role in that. This year we are in a higher division and plan to do just as well.
Back home, I would train in group sessions at Redbridge Sports Centre twice a week, play at my home club twice a week, have two fitness sessions with separate coaches and also had individual lessons. Eating correctly and properly is something I have struggled with. However, I have had help from my Fitness coach, who has given me a diet that allows me to have enough energy to play tennis every day without eating too much. Running drills are my foe – I have never been a fan of running but obviously it’s key in tennis so lots of fitness drills are required to keep that stamina high.
Being selected to be a CCCU Sports Scholar is really amazing. It firstly, made me feel that some of my hard work has paid off but also I now have the opportunity, as Captain of the tennis team and as a scholar, to help other students who have huge potential. Sport is necessary no matter where you are from and I can now try to find those that want to shine in their particular sport and even shine in a sport they do not know they are good at yet.