I just got back from a two week trip to Kenya to play two international U18 tournaments. I was travelling with some other players from where I train. After a 9 hour flight we arrived in Mombasa where the first tournament was held. It took me a while to get used to the heat and humidity! Our air conditioning on the first night was broken so was a very uncomfortable night but we managed to eventually get it fixed!
It was my first time to Africa and could already see a lot of poverty within the city. I already burned in the first few days and was drinking ridiculous amounts of water! I won my first round then lost to a Belgian seed in a tough match. However I won the doubles event which was great and we got a nice trophy and managed to pick up some points :)
We then flew to Nairobi which is the capital of Kenya. It was much more developed than Mombasa and the weather was a little cooler as we were at altitude. The court surface changed to clay, however not the same clay as we imagined. They were not in great condition and we realised how lucky we were in England with facilities!
I won my first round against a seeded German then came across a seeded Ukrainian. It was a tight match and narrowly lost. I was a little disappointed as I knew I could have won. However I came away with lots to learn and things to work on in my game. I gained more points which will improve my international ranking, which is what I’m working towards.
The experience was one I’ll never forget and it has helped me realise what I need to do to improve my game and that it’s just small things which make the difference.
Also I had a great winter winning a top national tournament and getting to two finals of others. This has improved my UK ranking. I am now currently ranked no.2 in both under 16s and 18s :)
Was really chuffed to have received ASDA athlete sponsorship again and am looking forward to the workshop!