14 year old Olivier Kigotho has made the national team, barely one year after joining Sadili Talent Training Academy in Langata, Nairobi. Olivier will be representing Kenya at the ITF/CAT U14 Circuit in Burundi and Rwanda from the 6th - 17th August 2012. I caught up with Olivier at Sadili as he stepped off the court following a tough evening training session. For a boy so young, he exuded quiet confidence and smiled a lot, so I was able to plunge quickly into my interview:
J - Why did you switch from playing basketball to playing tennis competitively?
O – Well I had initially played tennis and then started playing basketball because it was closer to home, while I was in school in the USA. Then when I came back to Kenya, I started playing tennis again, because I liked it better.
J - How does it feel to be playing for the national team?
O – It feels really good, like my hard work is playing off.
J - When you started playing tennis again was it your goal to be on the National Team?
O - Not exactly but I didn’t think that I would be on the national team so quickly.
J - Do you have any short or long term goals for tennis?
O- For the short term I want to play well for the national team, and get into my academy team too (which is actually quite hard) and just keep playing well. And long term, I guess, get a tennis scholarship for a college.
J - in the USA? Europe?
O- I'm not really sure, still thinking about it! (smile)
J- Is there any area that you feel you improved on the last year? Or things you would like to see improve?
O - Im not really sure... (shrug)
J- So your are going to Burundi and Rwanda, how do you feel about competing there?
O - Quite nervous, actually
J - About anything in particular or just in general?
O - In general, but I also know most of the players, and its going to be tough.
J - Do you have any particular goals for these competitions? Winning the whole thing? Making it to quarters?
O - Not really just play my best I guess....I just want to stay focused on that, so I train hard
J- What does it feel like being able to travel to other countries doing something you love?
O – It feels good! I have been exposed to different kinds of places and players. I think its the most important part. I have learned a lot.
J- Which are some of the countries you have played tennis competitions in since you joined Sadili?
O - the UK, Uganda, Burundi, Rawanda, and, well Kenya...
J- Is there a country that you would love to visit for a competition?
O- Yes! Spain, I've heard it has good players and its very nice place! (laugh)