Sophie has her eyes set on No 1 in the world

Central Leader - - NEWS - By BEN ROGERS

Sophie Michl has been spend­ing a lot of time out of school lately, but it’s with the bless­ing and back­ing of her teach­ers.

The year 8 Dioce­san stu­dent is an up-and-com­ing ten­nis player and has been trav­el­ling around the globe to bet­ter her game.

Sophie vis­ited In­dia in May as part of a train­ing camp, and tested her skills on clay courts.

‘‘In­dia was a great op­por­tu­nity to re­ally im­prove and step my game up to an­other level.

‘‘Play­ing on clay teaches you a dif­fer­ent way of play­ing ten­nis, you’ve got to learn where you hit the ball and phys­i­cally how you move.’’

The Royal Oak Rac­quets Club mem­ber has big dreams and learn­ing to play on clay, a sur­face we don’t have in New Zealand, will be im­por­tant if she is ever to make the world stage.

Ten­nis has been a way of life for the Ep­som res­i­dent from the age of 4 and since be­ing in­tro­duced to the game at a hol­i­day pro­gramme she has never looked back.

‘‘When I play ten­nis I don’t ever want to stop, I just want to keep on play­ing.

‘‘I want to win a grand slam and reach No 1 in the world for women’s ten­nis.’’

Sophie is in the United States for an­other train­ing camp and in-be­tween train­ing seven days a week she man­ages to keep up with her school work through cor­re­spon­dence.

Her mother Denise no­ticed Sophie’s talent at a very young age and thinks her daugh­ter could have a fu­ture in ten­nis.

‘‘A real­is­tic goal for Sophie is to get a schol­ar­ship to an Amer­i­can univer­sity which is quite achiev­able for New Zealand ju­nior play­ers.

‘‘I love watch­ing her but she doesn’t like me watch­ing her play so I nor­mally watch from a dis­tance.’’

Denise won’t be join­ing her daugh­ter in the States be­cause trav­el­ling with your coach and team is all part of the ex­pe­ri­ence, she says.

Ran­jit Shinde, Sophie’s high-per­for­mance coach at Scar­bro Ten­nis Cen­tre, has been coach­ing her since she was 7 years old.

‘‘Sophie has al­ways shown talent as a young and budding ten­nis player,’’ he says.

‘‘She has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally in the past few weeks, tech­ni­cally and phys­i­cally, and I be­lieve she is go­ing to be one of New Zealand’s best girls in the near fu­ture.’’

When Sophie turns 13 she will be el­i­gi­ble to play in the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion ju­nior tour­na­ments.

Top shot: Promis­ing ten­nis talent Sophie Michl, 12, lines up a forehand.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.