Today’s featured student has shown outstanding commitment to tennis, despite several set backs over the past year. Year 12 Baradene College student Elyse Tse struggled with a back injury last year, which meant she missed out on representing New Zealand on the international stage. However, through hard work and determination she was able to come back strong in the summer season, winning the singles and mixed doubles titles at the 16U New Zealand Junior Tennis Championships. Now with the current COVID-19 restrictions, Elyse is staying focused and finding creative ways to mix up her training.
What motivates you to play sport?
I was first motivated to play tennis because I love sports and the healthy lifestyle that comes with exercising, but as the years have passed what definitely motivates me to play tennis every week, is the love for the game. I have always really enjoyed playing tennis, it’s my favourite sport and I am a very competitive person. I love the idea of competing for every point, and the rewarding feeling I get when I know I have worked hard on the court. What also motivates me is my enthusiasm to always develop my skills and learn from the game. Tennis has taught me a lot of skills that will help me in life. The sport teaches you the disciplines of mental toughness, dedication, self-motivation, dealing with adversity as well as sportsmanship, and the rewards of success.
How have you been keeping active during lockdown?
It’s definitely been hard not to be able to play tennis with my friends and my coach. But during the lockdown, I have been able to really focus on the fitness side of my game, by running every day around a local field. I also found a hill to build strength by doing sprinting intervals up and down it. My physical trainer also has set up home exercise circuits via an easy app (True Coach), keeping up with my strength and core. I’ve also been doing multiple crafty tennis skills with the racket and ball against a wall.
Although I’ve been keeping in contact with my physical trainer and coach via phone and video calls, I have learnt that during this time you have to be responsible and self-motivated by taking control of your own training.
What are you looking forward to as we move down the alert levels?
I am looking forward to getting back into my normal routine, especially being able to see all my friends face to face. Excited to be able to get to go out normally and hanging with friends from all the lost time. Of course, I am also looking forward to getting back on court, training after school is a big part of my life and after being stuck at home, I can’t wait to see all my squad friends and coaches. I’m definitely going to be more grateful for all the little things in life when leaving things get back to normal.
What has been your favourite sporting moment over the past year?
My favorite sporting moment from last year was definitely the end of 2019. I was having a tough year with a back injury in the middle of the year which was really frustrating because I was limited on my training, and had to miss out on representing New Zealand at overseas tournaments. However, it started to recover so later in the year I was able to get back into full swing.
Working hard through the end of term 3 and 4, I had a great summer season. I played really well which eventually lead me to win the National Titles in the 16U New Zealand Tennis Championships in singles and mixed doubles. This tournament is one of the most important New Zealand tournaments of the year for juniors, where all of the top players in the country come to compete. It felt really good to win the title after the many setbacks I had, and to get that reassurance that my hard work and dedication from my family and coach is on the right track.
Who are your sporting role models and why?
My sporting role models are 100% Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. They are huge icons and inspirations to me in tennis – I love watching them on screen. Not only are they legends in the sport with exciting, dynamic game styles but they have the most hard-working and determined mind-sets. Inspiring me to never giving up in a match until you shake hands, fighting for every point. Showing that no matter who you are and where you come from, as long as you believe in yourself, the best will come out. Defying multiple odds and accomplishments because they both share so much love for tennis. Not only do they have inspirational qualities shown on the court, but off-court they true role models. With Serena Williams showing admirable leadership in equal rights for all races and women in the sport, and Rafa is incredibly humble, treating everyone equally and with the same respect that he is given.
If you’d like to nominate a student athlete or student coach/official to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with their full name, school, and why you’re nominating them.