The Fifth E.K.Kanoo Junior Open Tennis Championships under the patronage of E.K.Kanoo Board Member and Director of Corporate Services, Talal Fuad Kanoo concludes today at the Bahrain Tennis Club in Juffair.
Two Unisex finals take place today with Rushikesh Sonawane taking on Tristan Manners in the 9-10 years category and top seed Vyom Gupta taking on Riyaan Ahmed in the 6-8 years category at 4pm, while top seed Sparsh Parmar plays Mathias Hopman at 5pm in the Boys 12 years and under final.
Weekender spoke to some of the players who have been playing in six age categories in the championships which started on January 7.Eight year old Indian Vyom Gupta a student at the New Millennium School was delighted to reach the final of the 6-8 years, “Last year I was a runner-up here and hope to win this time, and have been playing for two years with my favourite player being Serbia’s Novak Djokovik.”
Rushikesh Sonawane an eight-year old Indian student at the New Millennium School has been playing for around three years and says, “I enjoy playing at Bahrain Tennis Club and my favourite players are Novan Djokovik, Roger Federer and Austrian Dominic Theme.”
Seven-year old Bahraini Marwan Janahi who attends the British School of Bahrain in Hamala and trains at Kings Tennis Aademy says, “I was influenced by my dad to play tennis and love the game, I also enjoy watching Novak Djokovic and Dominic Theme play and hope to progress as they did at my age and go to the top.”
Bahrain now has a Federation Cup team, which is the female version of the men’s Davis Cup with Nazley Nader one of its members. Nazley’s younger sister Nadeen aged 10 and a student at Al Raja School has been playing tennis for the past four years, “I train three times a week and have played in both Bahrain Tennis Club and Bahrain Tennis Club tournament even, Nazley is a big influence in playing tennis and her playing in the national team gives me the urge to go further,” said Nadeen who cites Serena Williams as her favourite player.
Anshuman Sonawane, a 12 year old student at the New Millennium School is ranked at 270 for India in his age group and has taken part in tournaments outside in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. One of Anshuman’s achievements has been a runner-up place in a doubles competition in Singapore.”I love playing tennis and train around three hours a day six times a week,” said Anshuman.
Tristan Manners a 10-year old student at Nadeen School is a regular entrant in Unisex competition and won a number of competitions at Under-8 and Under-10 level. “I enjoy tennis and have won a number of tournaments in Bahrain, my favourite players are Spaniard Rafael Nadal, German Alexander Zverev and Swiss Roger Federer who are a great inspiration,” said Tristan.
PRIDE OF BAHRAIN
“Playing for the National team last year in Thailand in the Federation Cup was a great honour to represent the Kingdom,” said Nazley Nader a 15-year old student at Al Raja School.”It was a proud moment for the team and I hope it motivates more girls to involve in tennis and compete internationally in more events.
Training under former Davis Cup player Essam Abdul A’al and Filipino Antonio Catito coaches’ was tough, but their experience has helped improve all team members involved,” said Nazley. Nazley explained that playing outside on different courts to Bahrain was a challenge, “We train on hard courts in Bahrain and then went to clay court training in Sri Lanka before going to Thailand.’
‘I have to thank Bahrain Olympic Committee member and Women’s Sport Committee chairwoman Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa for her support, she has inspired me as a female to be involved in sport and is a great motivator for girls and women generally to get more involved in physical activity and lead a healthier lifestyle,” Nazley said to Weekender.