Star Field’s Kassam makes shortlist for Africa Tennis Event
18/05/21 Nairobi, Kenya
Star Field prodigy Rinaaz Kassam was understandably delighted on learning that Tennis Kenya had chosen her to be amongst a group of six girls from which the best three will be selected to represent Kenya at the Africa Junior Tennis Championships Under-16 girls category slated for Cairo, Egypt from 21st to 27th June, 2021.
The African Junior Championships is one of the most prestigious competitions in Africa. The event also counts as the African regional qualifying event for the Junior Davis Cup, the Junior Fed Cup, the World Junior Tennis Competition and the International Tennis Federation team competitions for players of under 16 and 14 cadres.
“Kassam is one of the best junior players we have at Star Field Tennis Academy and was picked from the Tennis Kenya Junior Challenge series held in Nairobi at the back end of last year. We are optimistic that she will give us a good representation,” added Coach Allan Saha.
And while Kassam has enjoyed the extra time at home, she is now ready for the Tennis Kenya camp ahead of the Confederation of African Tennis tournament circuit to resume in June after they were suspended in March last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I'm ready to get back on court and hopefully make that maiden tennis trip - I like travelling more than I like staying at home," she says.
Kassam, who won her first title in the festival of friendship in Nairobi in November, 2019 at the age of 13, explains how she has dealt with her tennis journey thus far.
"I definitely feel pressure not so much because of my past results, but because I always put pressure on myself on the court. Lately it's not been pressure to win but just pressure to have fun and make sure I play the right way," she says.
"My determination to do well is one thing that always drives me, and also for my brothers - to inspire them too, to work hard. I know they look up to me, so I try to be a good example," she commented.
It seems her younger siblings are as switched on as she is. Rayan, 13 and Rohail, 10 have already signed up at Star Field’s Youth Cricket Program to hone their skills at much younger ages.
For now she's the one being troubled for interviews with this announcement and perhaps more is yet to come if she maintains her rich vein of form.
"I’ll just try to be myself; I won't really focus on the attention that I may receive with this call up. I’ll just be myself and hope that it works out for me," she concludes.