Filed Mallory Carra
With players from the Czech Republic to Zimbabwe, high school tennis is international.
Exchange students are a large part of the tennis scene. Just to name a few: Dade County’s No. 1 singles player Maria Otero-Perez is from Spain; Baylor’s No. 2 Julian Onken is from Germany; No. 1 Daniel Siller of Red Bank comes from Germany and McCallie’s Tariq Ismail at No. 3 is from Zimbabwe.
Ismail arrived in Chattanooga in January and is boarding at McCallie, playing his first season on the tennis team. It’s an opportunity that wasn’t as readily available at home, where he played on the junior circuit.
“There’s more tennis here. Back home, I wouldn’t say it’s weak, but it’s dying out,” he said. “There’s a lot of poverty and people can’t afford to play tennis. It’s tough. So I came here because there were too few people to play with back home.”
Siller is just enjoy the sport being a part of school, something that wasn’t available in his native Czech Republic.
“We don’t really play tennis at school, we have like come teams. It’s unusual, not like here. If you play sport in my country, it’s like you have to be on special teams. It’s not like a school thing. It would be awesome to play here for a long time.”
E-mail Mallory Carra at firstname.lastname@example.org.