By Sufyan Ibrahim, 23rd September, 2018.
Terence Das, a sixteen-year-old lad, could very well be the future of Indian tennis. With a gifted height, scathing serves, ferocious forehands, and breakneck backhands, Terence has all the necessary tools required for a big game in the recent times. Terence has his vision set to be The Best Tennis Player that he could possibly be. Indian Tennis Daily got an opportunity to interview him during a break in his already busy schedule.
Q) Tell us about your background. Where are your roots in India, when did you move to Portugal?
I am originally from Pondicherry in India. I was born there. My father works in Nigeria, Africa, so our family had to move there. I moved to Portugal when I was eight years old, along with my mother. And since then, I started playing tennis for two-three hours daily.
I am currently a tenth standard student studying via National Institute of Open-Schooling Board, India. If I do well in tennis, I will do NIOS for my 11th and 12th as well.
Q) Your journey into Tennis. Did your family have any Tennis background? How did it begin? Where and which academy were you playing at?
I was introduced to tennis by my father. He usually plays tennis at a club every weekend. One day he took me there and slowly I gained interest in playing the game. After school, I used to go and play tennis every day. That’s when I decided to pursue my career as a tennis player. I do not belong to a tennis-family. My dad used to play it for fun and once he introduced it to me, I liked it too.
When I was 8, I used to go to the Tavira racquet club and train with my same (current) coach. He is now my private coach.
I practice every day from Mon-Sat, for about six and a half to seven hours, for the past four years. Four and a half hours of tennis on-court, one hour of fitness, and one and a half hours stretching. That’s my daily routine.
Q) Your Tie Tennis profile states that you are with the club: “CT Faro (AT ALGARVE)”. Where, in Portugal, are you based and how did you end up choosing this club?
Oh yes. That’s the new name of Tavira racquet club. I am officially registered under that club. I play for Division 1 events for the club. I do not train there, rather just represent that club.
Presently we are based at Tavira, Algarve in the southern region of Portugal. I had left that club when I was 13-15 years of age, as I was in Lisbon. Currently, I am back with my old coach, Pedro.
Q) You’re pretty tall for a 16-year-old. Is it in the genes? Or did it just happen? How much work do you put in the gym?
My dad is around 1.78m tall. I am approximately 1.80m. So, I think it definitely is in the genes.
I don’t do weights in the gym. I do running, leg strengthening and agility. So mostly cardio-centered and for the core abdominal muscles.
Q) Can you shed more light for us on the team around you and your coach Pedro Pereira?
Pedro has been my coach since I was 8. He has coached a former WTA no. 67, Nina Olegovna Bratčikova, who has retired now. He himself was a former top-500 ATP player. But right now, he mostly trains juniors (<14, <16) and futures players.
Right now he is my private coach for tennis. I do not have a fitness coach right now, but we are managing it on our own right now.
Q) You seem to have played a lot of National Tourneys in Portugal. Any special victories that you can call out?
Yes, these are the events comparable to the ones organized by AITA in India.
Jose Ricardo Nunes, a former top-900 player, competes in the National tournaments here. Presently he is a coach and stopped playing futures. We almost always play against each other in the SFs and Fs here.
I have played around 30 tournaments here. And, have won around 20 singles and 5 doubles events.
(On asking why he hasn’t tried doubles in the futures yet?) I do play doubles. But, I haven’t found an appropriate partner yet.
Q) How do you assess your game so far. Strengths / Weaknesses – what is needed to take it further?
Right now I feel satisfied with my game. I still should develop more. Everything is in the process. It obviously has to get better for the future. I work every day on my fitness, groundstrokes, gameplan- like if plan A doesn’t work, I should be ready with a plan B.
My serve and my forehand are my main strengths. My backhand is also great.
Terence at Sanxenxo, Tennis Europe Finals.
Q) You seem to have completely skipped the Jr Circuit. Any reason for skipping Juniors?
I do not prefer playing juniors. It is not a waste of time, but I feel it is not necessary. Rather, I’d play on the men’s circuit at a young age. So at 16, I think if I can play men’s then I can surely make it through.
Before 18, I’d like to be at least in the top-500 so that I can avail of the spot in the Jr GS. That surely is in my considerations.
Q) In just your 4th ever tourney, you have scored a top-400 win. How do you rate this win? How do you analyze this match? What were the factors behind your win?
I played against him in the first round of a Portugal futures. I played very solid from the very beginning. I made sure I did not allow him to think to change his game pattern. I dictated the game throughout. He did have a bit of a strange forehand, so I made sure I hit the ball high to his backhand, and whenever I had the right opportunity I finished the point with my forehands. I won my subsequent match and made it to the QFs.
Q) Any tennis player that you have closely followed and were inspired from?
I am quite inspired by Rafael Nadal because he is a hard worker! For the finesse, I go with Roger Federer for his clean games!
(Any Indian players that you follow?) Yeah, I follow Ramkumar Ramanathan, quite a lot, I think he has a promising future.
Q) What are you future Tennis plans – Pro Tour or Jr Tennis or College tennis or something else? You might be aware that top500 ranked under-18 players get a spot in the QD of a Junior Grand Slam according to the ITF rules.
I would like to go professional. I am not aiming for college. Since I was three years old, I always had the motive to be a Pro Tennis player. I have no space for any other thing. My dad and mom have always been very supportive of it.
All my finances are taken care of by my dad. He is a really great person. And my mom, who has been all the time with me. She even travels with me for my tournaments. I am very grateful to both of them. Without them, I’d not be able to do anything.
Above all, I have God’s mercy to get the best way to pursue tennis with the right people.
Q) Are you still associated with India in any fashion? Do you visit any of the places here?
Yes, of course! I played an AITA event in Chennai last year. And I surely plan to play the futures events in India from this year- Mumbai, Bengaluru, etc.
I am friends with Sasi Kumar Mukund. My mom and his mom are friends. He also gave me a good congratulations after my QF.
I remember, when I won 2 consecutive Indian Nationals under-12 at the age of 11, I would like to mention a remarkable person, coach Sajid Lodi, from Indore, who took care of me on-court and off-court with his very best efforts at everything, that I can never forget. He played a very big role.
Q) Any specific goals that you have set for yourself for the rest of 2018?
I would like to be in top-750 by the end of this year before the transition tour setup gets implemented from next year. I mean, it is possible to be a pro through it also, but I think this was will be a bit easier. But let’s see how it goes.
|Languages that you speak||English, Tamil, French, and maybe Hindi.|
|A loss that hurt you the most||Against Maxime Tchoutakian in my first futures after I was leading 5-2, and missed my opportunities.|
|If not Tennis, what you have been your alternate career||Maybe an Engineer? Probably going to school/tuitions.|
|Favorite cuisine and dish||Dum Biriyani.|
|Racquet used||Babolat Aero Pure Aero-Drive.|
|Hobbies||Watching TV, Playing TT. (And Cricket a bit, if I am in India)|
|Favorite Author||Don’t read that much.|
|Favorite Musician||Michael Jackson, always.|
|Favorite travel destination||Tavira, here. It is a very touristic place.|
|Place you haven’t been to, but would like to visit||Mauritius.|
|Dream mixed doubles partner||Never played XD before. I’d love to play with Sania Mirza if I ever got the opportunity.|