Tennis is not as popular as other sports in Goa. However there are a quite a number of youngsters who passionately practise this sport. NT KURIOCITY caught up with two pairs of siblings to understand more about their passion for tennis and aspects that steer success
While football continues to be dominant on Goa’s playgrounds and physical education classes, there are many who try out other sports, before either settling for one or opting out of it totally. Tennis is one such sport that has a few young enthusiasts practise hard and delivers good results too, in the state and nationally. Siblings, Saiel and Samiksha Gajinkar from Mapusa and twins Varaswastika and Arav Eshwar are four such tennis players, who recently participated in Gadre Gasper Dias Open 2019.
While they do love other sports, they weighed their strengths and chose tennis. Here they not put their best foot forward, but their passion and dedication along with their skills is what matters. “There are many sports like cricket and football which I love. But, I am fonder of tennis. It is a game where I can give my best,” says 10-year-old Arav. His twin sister Varaswastika, on the other hand, has tried others sports like badminton, cricket, and football but found tennis to be her true calling. At the annual Gadre Gasper Dias Open 2019 Varaswastika lost to Shayana Mirashi in the Girls U-16 while Arav made it to the semi-finals in the U-12 boy’s category.
The tennis players believe that getting into a sport early helps one identify key strengths and work on basics and acquiring skills gradually. Emphasising on the importance of getting into the sport at an early age, Arav says that when you start early you get to learn step-by-step and also improve and strengthen your abilities.
For these four children, tennis is a way of life with their siblings also being in the same sport, thus contributing to each other’s game and working together as a team to up their game.
Having identified the capabilities of her brother Saiel who defeated Puneet Phadte 4-0, 5-4 in the boys U-12 category, Samiksha feels that her brother has a lot of endurance and strength and can play for longer duration better than her.
Speaking about their strengths and their game, she says: “Though we play the same sport, I really admire my brother. He is good at serving, and also has high endurance to play for long without getting exhausted.”
The four have begun playing at the national circuit at AITA (All India Tennis Association) approved ranking tournaments, and have their eyes set on several targets in the near future. However, they feel that there is no much buzz or craze about tennis in Goa. “There are many who play but not as much as they play other sport. There is also lack of infrastructure for this sport to practise,” says Varaswastika who has shifted to Goa from Bangalore.
It’s not easy to balance studies and sport with equal dedication, but these children tell us that they just have to manage it and have learnt the balancing act. “It isn’t easy for me to manage because I have my examinations approaching and the timing of tuitions and practise does not fit well in my schedule, however I try to balance studies and sport both, so that I don’t have to sacrifice any of it,” says Samiksha.
It’s isn’t possible to pursue sport today without family support, and the four say that the role of their parents can’t be ignored. Unlike previously, today many parents encourage their children to pick up a sport of their choice and practise it from a very young age.
While in both cases, it was the father who played the role of introducing Saiel and Samiksha Gajinkar, and Varaswastika and Arav to tennis, their mother plays her part too. As they conclude they say that parents should encourage children to play sport, and yet not force them to play any particular sport that they like.