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Interview with Esah Hayat

November 1, 2018

When & where did you start playing tennis?

I started my first lessons at Westway Sports Centre, age 10 after spending years preferring football to tennis. In the beginning, the sessions were only 15 minutes but it progressed into half an hour and hour long sessions after a few months.

Where do you undertake most of your training now?

At the moment, I play a lot at Finchley Manor, and have just started playing in the squad lessons at Georgians Tennis Club. I still go to Westway every once in a while too.

What have been the highlights of your tennis career to date?

The biggest highlight of my career so far was winning the 18&U World Deaf Championships in 2015. It was extra special because it was my first title, I was younger than the rest of the opponents and it was held in the UK, Nottingham.

This year, we won Silver at the World Deaf Team Competition in Turkey, which is an adult event so that was also one of my best achievements. I have also won LTA grade 3’s in the 16s and 18s categories.

What are your goals for the future?

In the future, I would like to start playing more national and international events and when I turn 18 go to a college in the USA, to play tennis and study. When I am older, I’d like to play some professional tournaments and see how far I can go at that standard.

What do you love about tennis?

In my opinion, tennis is a very good sport because it is a very individual sport meaning if you lose then you are the only person who has lost, and if you win then you are the only person that has won. You are the main person who is responsible for playing smart and preparing well, so that makes it a very rewarding sport too. There are also so many variations and different styles of play that makes it very interesting to play and compete.

What would be your advice to anyone thinking of taking up deaf tennis?

My advice would be to go out and play tennis, wherever you can because it is a great sport and being deaf or having another disability shouldn’t stop you. There are opportunities out there to play tennis, either with the mainstream crowd or with other deaf players so I would definitely recommend giving tennis a try.

Who is your role model & why?

My role model has been Andy Murray from a young age, because he had a lot of problems with his physicality when he was growing up, but he worked so hard in the gym that he developed into a strong tall player after years of people doubting him. He then went on to win grand slams, the Olympics and the Davis Cup.

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