Interestingly, Katie learnt 'work' while on vacation

In the city for the Chennai Open, British player says she picked up tennis during holiday in Portugal
British tennis player Katie Swan
British tennis player Katie Swan

CHENNAI: Around the globe, many go on vacation to take time off from work or studies. But, interestingly, British tennis player Katie Swan learnt the basics of her ‘work’ while on holiday in Portugal about 15 years ago.

Since she had plenty of time on her side during the trip to the Iberian nation, Katie’s parents enrolled her in a tennis academy, where she fell in love with the racquet sport in a matter of days. “We stayed at a resort in the southern part of that country. My parents sent me and my cousin for coaching for about a week. Straightaway, I liked tennis,” the Bristol-born Katie, who is in the city for the inaugural WTA Chennai Open 250, told DT Next on Saturday.

“The coach who taught me tennis in Portugal told my parents that I should take lessons back home. He saw some potential in me. As soon as I returned to England, I started playing at my local club. I was super focused. I have enjoyed playing tennis from a young age,” said the 23-year-old Katie, placed 176th in the WTA women’s singles rankings.

Katie was multifaceted even before turning into a teenager and hence had to make an important sporting decision when she was just 12 years old. “I played other sports too. I played a lot of hockey. I had the chance to represent the South West region of England. In athletics, I used to run 800m and compete at the national level,” she revealed.

“I had to choose between tennis and hockey because it was tough to play both. I loved tennis a little bit more than hockey, so I opted for it. When I was a kid, I enjoyed sports a lot. I am glad that my parents made me play other sports as well. I think that it is great for development,” Katie went on to add.

‘Came early to adapt to the weather’

Katie landed in Chennai well in advance to acclimatise to the challenging conditions at the SDAT Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam. Placed in the top half of the draw, she will begin her campaign against Arianne Hartono of the Netherlands in the first round.

“This is my first trip to India. I came here in the early hours of Thursday. I have been practising in the last couple of days. I did not play any tournament last week, so I had the time to come early. I knew that the weather would be hot, so I wanted to adjust to it,” said Katie, who hopes to return to form after a mini break.

“I am here on my own; my coach could not travel. I just want to give my best in practice sessions and matches. I have not played for a few weeks (she last played a competitive match in August), so I just want to give my best,” added Katie, an Arsenal fan.

If she can replicate some of the fine performances that the London footballing giant has put in so far this season, Katie will get past the initial hurdles in Chennai. Can she ‘Gun’ for glory?

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