Perse real tennis player wants to hit it big on world stage

Isabella Harvey (Lower Sixth) is aiming to be a big hitter after earning a spot in the World Women’s U19 Real Tennis Championships.

The prestigious tournament, which takes place at The Oratory, Oxfordshire, in April, will bring together the top 16 players in the age group from across the globe.

She said: “I’m so pleased to have been invited to take part in the world championships. I’m looking forward to it and I go into every competition thinking I’m going to win it – I believe you have to think like that.”

Real tennis is the traditional sport from which many racquet games from lawn tennis to squash developed.

Played on asymmetric walled indoor courts with the same scoring system to that of lawn tennis, real tennis uses wooden racquets and heavier balls than in the modern offshoot of the game.

Isabella began playing at the relatively young age of nine.

She said: “I’ve always played a lot of sport, particularly cross country in Years 7 and 8, but real tennis became my main sport when I realised I was quite good at it.

“You need to be quite fit to cover the court because it’s bigger than a (lawn) tennis court and you also have to try to predict where the ball is going to go.

“However, real tennis is quite complex, which is why I think it’s quite a niche sport. It took me a few years to learn the rules!

“I enjoy it because it tests you mentally as well as physically. I like the fact you don’t always know where the ball is going to go and there are so many different strategies you can use.”

Isabella uses her school games lessons to practise real tennis at CURTC, as well as training or playing matches at weekends and going to the gym once a week to build her muscle strength.

She goes into the World Championships in good form after winning the doubles and being runner-up in the singles at last month’s National women’s U19 championships at Wellington College.

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