‘Urged to take up tennis’, Haria now seeks out Star field coach to aid him turn pro
13/04/21 Nairobi, Kenya
"If I tell my story then it has to have a purpose, a reason to inspire and motivate people, to give them hope from what my journey has been like," Reesh Haria commented.
The diminutive, athletic teenager with a fierce will to win and streetwise spirit - said to have been borne out of goal setting by his cousin who compelled him to take up the sport is beginning to attract the attention of his coaches.
At the tender age of 4 years, he was enrolled to begin having lessons at a private members club in the Parklands area of Nairobi. He is still honing his raw talent and developing the powerful serve and athleticism that he craves can become the hallmark of his game.
Now 14, Haria says he is still "a work in progress". In the current predicament of his journey only continues to be a devout one, having been rooted in their house in Parklands during the coronavirus pandemic for four months.
“This pandemic has been a hindrance in more ways than one, less competition from the organizing bodies and disruptions to life in general,” the Aga Khan Academy student said, he wishes that the pandemic can be over soon so that normalcy to life can return.
"Winning in front of a crowd, even if it were my crowd, is unique to many players but not me. That’s how I have equipped myself to deal with crowd pressure; I don’t let crowds get to my game plans and even my own parents are not exempted. It might be magical and a powerful moment for others," said Haria, who is fighting to play in the pro ranks someday, whether in Kenya or abroad to make him feel like he has fulfilled his dream.
The overbearing expectation has been brought about due to the fact that in his short stint at amateur levels he has accomplished quite a bit of accolades including playing in the Kenya Open junior championships.
Being part of the Star Field Elite training group of six pupils has helped his development a lot. The youngster has looked up to Coach Ibrahim Kibet for inspiration and hopes that he can support him to achieve the levels he is aspiring to get to.
The toughest encounter he has been involved in thus far came in 2018, where he played in the opening round matches of the ITF tour circuit in Kenya against the visiting Russian opponents who made him realize the step up he has to make if he is to craft his way to the very top.
His affection with the Russians extends further than just playing against them; he also idolizes one of them in the form of Andrey Rublev – the Russian youngster who had a breakthrough year of 2020 where he won five major ATP titles including Vienna, St. Petersburg, Hamburg, Adelaide and Doha.
Haria trains throughout the week, Sunday being the exception and has been working hard with coach Kibet who engages him positively on areas that he needs to make key changes in order to take his game a notch higher.