Southeast Asian Games 2015 might have just seen the next Maria Sharapova. Introducing rising tennis star, Katharina Lehnert (below), 21, from the Philippines. The young star blitz through her debut in the 28th SEA Games 2015 as she bagged two silvers and a bronze, in the Team, Women's Singles and Women's Doubles events respectively.
Lehnert executing a backhand. Photo credit: Ben Cho/ SINGSOC
"Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic!", said Lehnert when asked about who she looks up to in tennis. Since starting out her tennis career at 7 years of age, she has participated in the Wimbledon and French Open Juniors and is currently ranked 560 in the Women's Tennis Association(WTA) singles rankings.
On the court, she is fully focused like a laser and, concentrated on the game. Off the court she is totally laid-back and relaxed. "Because I'm traveling a lot, around the world, so I don't have much time with my family, so I'll spend more time with them." She elaborates about what she does in her free time.
Born and raised in Braunschweig, Germany, to a German father and Filipino mother, Lehnert is torn between the preference of nationality and culture. "I was born in Germany, sometimes I feel more like a German. When I'm in the Philippines, I feel like a Filipino." Lehnert elaborates when asked about her mixed heritage. Due to her mixed heritage, she has inherited a unique pan-asian look which attracts throngs of supporters whichever court she plays at the Kallang Tennis and Squash Centre.
Lehnert celebrating a point. Photo credit: Yeo Yeow Kwang/ SINGSOC
"If there are requests, I might do it, but my focus is on tennis!" smiled Lehnert when asked if she would ever consider modelling as a career option. Lehnert floats around the court akin to a ballroom dancer, eye-catching outfits, earrings, full waterproof make-up. “I don't have any fashion sense. I'll wear anything what I want and what I like”, she says when asked about her attention-catching outfits, she have spotted on the courts.
“Its a really tough job, keep on fighting!” those are the words of Katharina Lehnert for the juniors. This hotshot is definitely as much a role model for aspiring tennis players as Sharapova has been to her, deuce.
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.