“Believe in yourself and take one step at a time. It takes time to establish oneself, but it’s worth the wait. Be hardworking and determined. Never lose hope for we don’t know what future may bring. Focus on your goal. “Never try to prove yourself to people, only time will bring you to the right place of contentment. Above all, trust God,” says Metba Phom, a 20-year-old boy from Longleng who now rubs shoulder at the professional circuit in Delhi Lawn Tennis Association. He is the son of Kanglong Phom from Nyang village in Longleng District.
While studying at Greenwood school in Dimapur (2006), the All India Tennis Association (AITA) through the initiative of Nagaland Lawn Tennis Association (NLTA) launched a selection campaign. Among the five students who were selected to train at the National Tennis Academy (NTA), Phom was included.
Eventually he left school to become a full-time professional in tennis, the very year. When asked about it, Phom says: “No matter what, it is always good to follow our heart, and tennis has been a game that I desired to play at higher level.”
Speaking on his daily routine, Phom narrates that his day is always hectic as he gets up early in the morning to give private classes to some Japanese students and turn up at the academy to train for the entire day and work out in the evening. “Tennis particularly being an individual game, sheer dedication and efforts is required with the same level of intensity, be it physical fitness, mental or the level of game you play,” maintains Phom. On his inspiration, he rates his dad as one of the most influential persons in his life whose struggle with hardships in life continues to be a motivation to the son. He also cites Roger Federer’s humility despite his fame and achievement as a source of inspiration.
Though he has yet to represent the country in any major tournament, Phom has already represented the All India Tennis Association and played various tournaments in different parts of India.
“I play with the spirit and attitude that I represent Nagaland and our Association at any level I play. Well, it’s always a proud feeling to play at any competitive levels whether I win or lose. After all, I chase my dreams not competition,” he says.
He admits to having moments when he feels like giving up tennis for other sport but in the end, tennis always triumphs. “The only reason that keeps me going is that, God is with me and He will never fail me. Besides, the overwhelming support from my family and friends keeps me going.
“Your time on this earth is limited. Focus on yourself, your dreams and your legacy. Don’t waste it on people who don’t believe in you,” says Phom, when pressed for a message to boys and girls of his generation. He further shares that he would play as long as he excels and thereafter set up an academy in Nagaland to promote tennis and impart his experiences and skills to the younger generation.
Phom credited the All Nagaland Lawn Tennis Association (NLTA) for the initiative they took in the first place that took him to where he is now.
When asked for his choice to win the Wimbledon this year, he said “undoubtedly it is Novak Djokovic. He is in the form of his life and I can see him stay there for a while.”
Source: Eastern Mirror.