Zain Manji has had quite the year, and he hopes to top it off with a national championship. Manji comes into the 2016 University Championships after being named OUA Player of the Year, OUA Peak Performer and an OUA All-Star. He went undefeated at the OUA tennis championships and comes into the tournament sizzling hot and ready to lead University of Toronto. In this feature, we get to know a little more about Manji, including how he started in the game of tennis, his thoughts on the university program, and some interesting tidbits on some of his teammates.
How did you get your start in the sport of tennis?
I started playing when I was 10/11 years old. My dad would take me and my brother, Raheel, to the nearby school to hit tennis balls against the wall and fool around. Eventually I began to really enjoy it and that’s when I started playing OTA junior matches. The more and more competitive matches I played, the more and more I wanted to get better and win.
How would you describe the competition level in the university program?
I think the level in the university program is good and getting better each year. Most of the U of T tennis team played in the OTA growing up, so they’re used to competing at a competitive level, and a few players competed in the league after playing in the NCAA for their undergraduate studies.
Who do you consider the biggest practical joker on your team and why?
I have to say Nick Somody. He’s definitely a character and the way he thinks is very… interesting (haha), but it’s great. It’s great that he’s a joker because it helps us, as a team, relax, enjoy ourselves, and be even more motivated. At the end of the day, we all know he really wants to win and bring home the trophy so he can take a nice Instagram picture with it, so we’re motivated to help him get that picture.
If you could be the hitting partner for any player in tennis history, who would it be and why?
Definitely Roger Federer. He’s just too talented and it’d be great to gauge how well I could hit against him. Also his practices seem like they’d be fun because he probably likes to experiment a lot in them.
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