In our latest edition of #featuredplayer series, we check out (pun probably intended) Rovo's Nadal Terry Hamilton Ng! 😉 Terry has played tennis competitively in school and captained his JC school team. Now let's find out what is it that makes him never stop with the #vamos.
What is it about tennis that makes you tick?
It's the intensity of crunch points and the pressure from matchplay that makes tennis so much more exciting for me. In the past, I used to crumble under the pressure when playing a match. I can still remember the very first time I played a match for my school, I broke under pressure as I just couldn't handle the match stress. Every single time I make an error, it took a toll on my mind. The bad shot would tend to stay on my mind for the subsequent points and ultimately, affected my whole game. Over the years as I played more matches, I began to understand how keeping a clear head is so important in maintaining a consistent game. Feeling gutted about an error is normal, but moving on to the next point without harping on the mistake is crucial. In tennis, you're all alone on the court with no one to advise you, no one to talk to you nor coach you. This is what made me love tennis more and more as time went by. It taught me to be mentally stronger.
Would you rather play tennis or go to the movies?
It depends on my mood for the day. I love watching movies as well because I take it as a form of rest and relaxation, and as a way to spend quality time with my loved ones. I usually go to the movies with my girlfriend as both of us are movie fanatics. It also depends if there are good movies showing. If there are no good movies I would rather save the money and hit the courts instead. Playing tennis is different as I take it as a form of training and improving my match play at the same time having fun with my friends.
Do you prefer singles or doubles tennis?
Definitely singles tennis for me. I've tried both singles and doubles tennis when I was playing for my school in the past, and all I can say is that singles tennis gives you more flexibility during a match. Firstly, during a singles match, you have the whole court to yourself and you can decide how you're going to play your game according to your opponent's style of play. You can control the match as you deem suitable for yourself. Secondly, what I like about singles is that when you're out there alone, the winners you hit and errors that you make all belong to you, thus I won't have to feel that I let down a partner if I played badly during that particular match. Thirdly, I prefer to play singles tennis because I feel that I'm a more athletic player who really loves to run a lot! Since I started playing tennis I've always liked to run down hard-to-reach shots and I make sure that I hunt down every ball whenever I can, even if it's slipping and sliding around the court - just like Nadal! Doubles is good fun too, but when I'm playing a serious match, I tend to get more stressed out because the court is not fully in my control anymore - I have to focus not only on my game, but also on my partner's game.
I see you are a Nadal fan, what is it that makes him so special in your eyes?
I have watched Nadal play tennis since I picked up the sport 10 years ago, and what made me love him so much is the intensity and relentlessness in his game. There was just something about his movements, his strokes, his strength, and his tenacity that made me decide that this is the man that I would be watching from then on. At the start, I was a fan of Nadal only because he looked good(damn those biceps!) and also because of the way he played. But over the years as I began to read more about Nadal's history, as I watched him play more, as I saw his heartbreaks and his victories, the reason why he's so special to me became more than just superficial. Nadal was hardworking - I can say that the way he practise and train is definitely 10x harder than any other player. His willingness to put in his 100% to come back to the top again was just an inspiration to not just me, but to fans of tennis. When Nadal won the La Decima at the Roland Garros this year, it was such a defining moment, and once again he gave me a reason to love him even more. It's because of the bad times which makes these moments even more memorable.
Do you like Nadal, have a preference for clay?
Truth to be told, although I'm such a huge fan of Nadal, I haven't tried playing on clay yet! But comparing the 3 different surfaces - hard, clay and grass, clay seems to be the surface which suits my style of play best. I play with more topspin, which I feel will benefit my game more than when I play on the hard courts. Also, clay allows one to slide around the court, something which I always do for balls that are hard to reach! I believe that I'll fall in love with clay court tennis when I give it a try sometime soon.
How important do you think your muscles are for your tennis game?
I think that my muscles are very important for my game. I can say that my style of play is somewhat similar to Nadal - very intense running and sliding back and forth the court, putting quite a bit of strain on my legs, especially my quads and my knees. You need to have strong quads so that the muscles are able to support you while you're doing all these intense sprinting and sudden change of directions. In the long run, if your leg muscles are not strong enough, your knees will suffer the consequences. Core strength and upper body strength are also important because a strong core provides good stability when going for shots, and a strong upper body will allow you to stay longer during a rally and not tire out so quickly.
How did feel you feel about Nadal's early exits?
Whenever I watch a Grand Slam, definitely I always do hope that Nadal will make it through every match that he plays, and hopefully, even to the finals and then go on to win the Slam. It's normal for a fan to want his favourite player to win, and it's also normal to feel disappointed if his idol suffers an early exit! During Nadal's down period, where he suffered the most early exits and upsets, I would feel disappointed upon knowing the results, but I never lost hope in him as I told myself that every professional tennis player is human after all; all of them will have ups and downs during their career. Nadal has had his ups for so many years, winning 14 Grand Slams and 10 Roland Garros titles. That's why whenever Nadal suffers an early exit, I'll tell myself to believe that this is a bad day for him, and that he'll have more opportunities in future. A classic example of his comeback is definitely this year, when he made it into the Australian Open finals, won Roland Garros, Barcelona and Madrid Opens!
If given the chance to ask Nadal 3 questions, what would they be?
- Which is your most memorable grand slam win in your entire career thus far?
- Can you walk me through a typical pre Grand Slam final match - your thoughts, feelings, emotions, 'rituals'?
- What's life after tennis for you?
What is your favorite time of the day to play tennis in?
I have no favourite time of the day to play tennis actually... because I can play tennis almost any time of the day, haha! But if I have to choose my most preferred time of the day to play tennis, it will have to be in the morning - to start the day right with some fun and a good workout!
Do you think passion is essential for the learning of tennis, or does it build up as you get going?
I feel that passion is definitely the most essential for the learning of tennis, but whether it builds up overtime as you get going or if you already have it in you that is the difference. To me, I feel that this might apply to different age groups. For kids who are starting to pick up tennis, some of them may be 'forced' by their parents or influenced by external factors (friends, surroundings etc.) which made them pick up the sport. The passion may not be inside them from the start and they may feel obliged to learn tennis. But overtime as they play more and get inspired by people better than them, or by professionals (just like how Nadal inspired me), I'm sure the spark within them will be ignited. For adults who have never played tennis before and have the sudden interest in them, it might be that they already have the passion for the game, and are finally able to find the time to commit into learning something new.
That is some amazing passion for the game Terry! Vamos mate! Do check out Terry's profile on Rovo and if you want to have a taste of some Nadal-like shots, arrange for a hit with him!
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