My Mum and Dad first introduced me to tennis when I was 8 years old. I remember going to a tennis clinic in Isleworth, West London, where they used to have a BMX track near the tennis courts. Back then we had wooden tennis racquets, and even though I had a junior sized racquet, it was still bigger than me. This was where it all started. Great beginnings, where my parents introduced me to a sport which changed my life for the better.
How has your tongue cancer impacted your life?
Tongue cancer is a reminder to me that life is so precious and that it should not be taken for granted. I now try to make the most out of every day, appreciate and be grateful for each day and put things in perspective, as to what really is important in life. I realise that health challenges are something that happen throughout one’s life, but it was the acceptance of this that allowed me to be objective and work out what I could do to make things better. Developing a mindset of taking one day at a time, helped me to become stronger and more resilient in meeting and overcoming such a challenge. I have realised that this was also a team effort of love and support from my parents, family, friends and all the wonderful NHS medical staff.
Has your cancer shifted your dreams at all?
Cancer actually helped me change my focus from being solely career oriented to fulfilling more of my passions in life and procrastinating and overthinking less. From travelling more, writing a book to inspire and help others overcome cancer, and to becoming the best amateur tennis player that I can be, which also includes competing in The International Tennis Federation (ITF) Senior Amateurs Tour.
Having cancer hits you for six, and you realise that you do not have time to wait around. I now take more action and encourage others to take their shot.
My dreams are now more about seeing more of the world, experiencing new adventures, enjoying time with family and friends and meaningfully connect and contribute with others.
How do you manage training and making a living at the sametime?
I have been very grateful for working for a financial organisation. I work from home, within the IT Risk Management arena, which allows me save time and energy on a commute, and in turn can channel my focus into tennis practice 3 times a week and in-between that, fitness and weights sessions. My job also provides the finance to travel to Europe to play ITF tournaments and helps pay for my coaching and training. The downside now is that I have to take annual leave to play in such tournaments.
What would help you get much further, much faster now?
I work full time which provides me with the finance to play tennis. It also helps me to manage my finances long term, in terms of a pension. If I was playing full time I would be able to train, practice and play more tournaments, as well as focus more time into getting my coaching qualifications. However, I realise that I need to do both, to maintain my financial security.
I do not have any practical answers to speed things up, but think I need to remain focused and schedule my goals.
Do you enjoy competing or coaching more in tennis?
I really enjoy competing and travelling to tournaments in Europe. I hope to also travel outside of Europe sometime. I find competition is a great way to gauge where your game is, and ultimately fulfil one of my goals to be the best tennis player that I can be. I also really like meeting all the competitors at the tournaments as it is a great community.
I also enjoy coaching. At present, I assistant group coach kids ranging from ages 5 to 11. My goal is to ultimately become a Level 4 Performance Coach, which will enable me to coach county and national players. I’d like to help players improve their tennis, technically, mentally and physically.
What is your 1, 5, and 10 year plan?
My Year 1 goal is to reach the Worlds Top 250 in the 50s Mens Singles Age group in the ITF Senior Amateurs Tour. I would also like to take the Level 2 LTA Coaching Qualification and successfully complete this. This will then enable me to lead group coaching classes.
In Year 5, I would like to have become a Level 4 Performance Coach contributing to improving players at a county and national level. I’d also like to have made the Top 50 in the ITF 50s Mens Singles. I’d also like to have a number of investments and passive incomes in place.
In Year 10, I have thought about actually professionally coaching someone on the Professional ATP Tour. I will need to develop the path and the timeline may happen sooner.
You’ve looked into The Lighthouse Group – what do you thinkabout their vision?
I think The Lighthouse Group provides a wonderful platform in supporting and helping others achieve their dreams. I really like their approach in covering Career, Wealth and Lifestyle Management. These are key areas to help one succeed and have a balanced approach to life.
How important is protecting your mental health for athletes?
Managing your mental health is very important if you are going to be your optimal best. As an athlete, you are going to have setbacks. How you respond to these challenges is key in managing one’s mental health. I like to focus on what I can learn from these moments, implement this in my training, and look to improve on these.
Do you believe that tennis players get paid what theydeserve?
I think those tennis players that have made it on the Professional ATP Tour, who are sponsored by their Tennis Associations and other brands, get paid what they deserve.
I think tennis players at the County and National standard as well as on the Futures and Challenger ATP Tour, may not get paid what they deserve yet. They are up and coming and need that financial support and backing to get to the next level.
What do you think about the business side of professionaltennis?
I am not too familiar with the business side of tennis, but I do know that it involves a lot of funding in players from the Lawn Tennis Association as well as other major Brand management organisations (e.g IMG) and other brands.
In an ideal world – who would you like to be introduced to intennis?
One of my idols is Bjorn Borg. It would be great to meet him and pick his brains. From a British standpoint, it would be great to meet Tim Henman. I practiced with him a few times when we were juniors, and it would be nice to spend time chatting about how we can help improve British tennis at a community level.
I’d also like to have a Tennis mentor to help me develop from L2, L3 to a Level 4 Performance Coach. This will provide great support and insights for me in the direction that I am taking.
Who is your role model in the tennis and why?
I’d say Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are my Role Models. They both conduct themselves with such grace, intensity and a great attitude both on and off the court.
Would you be open to helping Lighthouse in the future withacademy and training work?
Yes, I’d be happy to hear more about this and see how I could support.
Do you believe that making getting on the property laddereasy and affordable for young people in sport is a good idea?
I think that would be a great idea to support and help young people in sport get on the property ladder.
You’ve been introduced to Lighthouse by Amit Amin – howwould you describe his mindset and his energy?
Amit is very professional and personable with a lot of creative energy. He has a positive and growth mindset looking at ways in how he can help develop and support others. It was great catching up with him.
I’ve already been introduced to some incredibly experienced and passionate people via Lighthouse that are giving me the advice I need at this stage to make smarter decisions about my career.
How important have your family been in supporting you?
My family have been key in supporting me. This was ever more so when I was battling cancer. Their love and support really helped me to overcome this.
Tell us a few fun facts that people may not know about you?
I’m a foodie – I love trying all types of foods! I love travelling – Brazil, Thailand and India are some of my favourite holidays. I also like dancing – I like Lindy Hop dancing mostly because it’s so much fun and the Big Band music is so cool.
What’s your motto in life?
Make the most out of your day. Pause, Reflect, Progress and have Balance in your life.
What’s your advice to someone who’s thinking about takingtennis up as a career?
If you have a love for the game and you want to help others develop and improve their tennis, then go for it. There is so much to learn in tennis, from the technique, foot patterns and movement, physical and mental fitness and tactical play.