A lot of people ask me why I started to play tennis. My parents do not play tennis, there is no "older brother that inspired me & we also have no famous tennis player in our family. OK we could say I was inspired from my German uncle, Klaus Wegner.
He was a truly great athlete, sportsman and rower that represented his country and won the Bronze medal at the European rowing championships in Rome in 1961.
I love the competition
I'm sure I've inherited one thing from him - my love to give it all in any competition. I LOVE to compete and to fight until I either have won or I lost. I was never a player that just tanked in a game.
So why tennis and not rowing, football ( soccer for our US followers ) or even rugby? I somehow always felt that by doing an individual sport I can master my destiny in a better way than being part of a team.
I tried out tennis at the age of 5 and loved it from the first moment.
There was of course early success - hitting a forehand so hard upwards that the fuzzy yellow ball flew over a very high looking fence to ultimately annoy the neighbours of the tennis club, the causing of countless temper tantrums of my opponents when they lost a rally and of course moving up in the LTA Mini tennis system.
In 2014- at the age of 11- I was invited to a national talent ID test & succeeded which meant that for two years consecutively I was part of a program called AEGON FUTURE STARS. This program supported some 16 or so players of each age group with extra training and tournament opportunities. I also participated at two national camps from the Lawn tennis association (LTA).
I was No. 9 in Great Britain before moving to 14&U
That said, there was also ranking glory in the 10&U age category. I came 3rd at two national level tournaments and made the last 16 at the national winter tour finals. Moving on to the 12&U age group I finished as No. 9 in Great Britain before I moved into the current 14&U age group.
I also count myself lucky not to have experienced any injury, even a minor one since I started playing tennis. I'm a big fan of Strength & Conditioning exercises which helps preventing things going wrong.
Why losing a important game can be a good thing!
Sometimes there are tough times to go through and these make you much stronger. A good example for that was back in 2014 - I was playing a championship tiebreak in the semi-finals at a national event and I was 8-4 up ! I remember smiling up at my dad and feeling as if I had already won. My opponent began to play freely and i got very nervous. I just played the ball back instead of playing my game and slowly he got back in the game and eventually won the tiebreak 10-8 . I was devastated , I was so close to a national final, however now I look back on the memory and this always makes me work double as hard and focussed. I believe there is a lot to be learnt from losses like this to make you mentally stronger.
Last year I went through a very tough training period, I was trained by more then 4 coaches in the space of a year! It was really difficult as you never get to know your coach - you never really create that bond of trust that enables one to give the best in every training.
Also every coach has a different style. Some are great communicators and others are not. When you change a coach every 2 or 3 months then it becomes very hard to keep the motivation to constantly work on that all important coach relationship.
At that time I wanted to quit tennis as I wasn't enjoying it at all.
What kept me going was my love for the game and my aim to become the best player I can be. My brother Lucian helped me too as it was great to see him running on a "high"
Slowly but steadily the fun came back when I worked with my last coach at Junior Tennis coaching ( JTC ). His name is Martin Kuumar. He had a great way to motivate me in a challenging way. He would not accept when I didn't give my best but at the same time had the ability to give me space when I needed some. It's always a balancing act.
I'm now changing everything - my coach, the place where I train and my program
If this sounds drastic then it's because it is drastic. Why would I do this? It's a mix of going to a new school, moving to a new home and last but not least wanting a more individualised training program. I will blog more about this soon.