My name is Zachary Phillips. I’m 16 and live in West Hampstead, London.
I play tennis because it’s the only thing I’m good at and I love all aspects of the game.
I hope to fulfil my dream, becoming a professional tennis player, but lack of a sponsor has halted my progress. I pray this will change in the very near future.
Who are your tennis role-models, and why?
My role models are my coach & fitness coach. My coach because he understands me & doesn’t judge me as a person or player. He has developed a style of play which is very technical and powerful.
If you had to compare your playing style to any other player, who would it be?
My playing style is a combination of
Federer, effortless with a single handed backhand. Nadal, powerful, and because I have incredible stamina. Also, Del Potro who has a powerful forehand and I will be his height when I’m fully grown.
What is your best memory from watching tennis?
My best memory is always to watch a good five set match. I love the duals between Federer & Nadal…two completely different styles of play.
Would you rather become world number 1 or win Wimbledon?
I would love to win Wimbledon simply because it is the world’s best tournament & I have played there twice in Road to Wimbledon.
How much inspiration does Andy Murray offer to you? Knowing he came from a similar position to yours, and has become a sporting great.
Andy Murray isn’t really an inspiration to me because being part of British tennis is all about your social status and who your parents are/know get you the opportunities. Although Murray has achieved a lot for me it was stage managed.
My experience is the LTA is institutionally racist as had I been from Scotland with my natural athleticism, physical build and power they would have funded me as they do the Scottish boys. I accept I simply have to work that much harder to fulfil my dreams.
Hopefully I can read this back in a few years time, and you will be competing at the very top. At the moment, what would you say were your strengths and weaknesses?
My main strength is that I have a natural gift for the game that my coach says you can’t teach.
I also play a mans game using my weapons which are my massive serve, powerful backhand and forehand. Also for a big guy I am getting faster as I get older which is a bonus.
My weakness is my mental/emotional part of my game. I am getting better but it is tough as the game is all about mental manipulation to break your opponent as well as playing your game.
I’m told I will get stronger with maturity as everything else is there.