Most people think of tennis as a solo sport. Two players facing off against each other, staring each other down across the net. It’s physically and mentally challenging, and the athletes have to hold their own without a team to support them.
But Venia Yeung knows better. The 15-year-old student at South Island School is one of Hong Kong’s top youth players, but she says she doesn’t go it alone. “I train every day with my team members to build up our team spirit, develop our communication between one another, and to make the team work,” she says.
That teamwork showed when Venia and her team represented Hong Kong at the 1st National Youth Games in Fuzhou, Fujian, back in November. Competing against teams from across China, the tournament was tough and tensions were high.
“The second seed duo from Chengdu were our greatest threat in the tournament,” Venia says. “We faced them in the semi-finals.”
But the Hong Kong girls’ team spirit carried them through the challenging competition, where Venia secured the bronze medal in Girls Doubles.
It wasn’t the first time Venia represented Hong Kong. She has participated in both team and individual tennis events across Asia. In addition to her bronze at the National Youth Games, she also came in 9th at the Junior Fed Cup. And she has done even better in the International Tennis Federation tournaments. She was runner up for Vietnam G5 Singles and won the Mauritius G4+G5 Doubles.
But it’s not always easy. In the five years Venia has been competing, she’s learned that injuries are an athlete’s biggest enemy. “ Being injured during tournament seasons was one of the biggest challenge I have had to face, that meant I had to withdraw from all the tournaments I had been preparing, training and planning for,” she says. “To be honest, it was really depressing when you see others fighting on court, when you couldn’t.”
While injuries can be a setback, it hasn’t seem to slowed Venia down much. And she doesn’t plan on letting anything stop her from reaching her ultimate goals. Venia plans to hit the tennis world in a big way. “I want to be able to participate in Grand Slam tournaments,” she says. “And to be ranked top 10 in the world.”
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Hall of Fame by The Script. This song has a very strong message of striving to be who and what you want to be. Whenever I listen to this song, it gives me confidence and motivation on reaching my goals.
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
Time manipulation, this is because it may help me balance out my school life and tennis, giving me more time to spend on both areas.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Happiness. That way, I can always be happy and positive when facing problems.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign-on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Nike. The designs of their tennis outfits and shoes are a mixture of fashion and sport.