WTA tennis star Caroline Wozniacki (left) arrives at the Singapore Sport Institute for a tennis engagement session. Photo: SportSG
Swinging by Singapore ahead of October’s Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals, Danish tennis star and former world champion Caroline Wozniacki made time for a cosy engagement session with a group of young local players at the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) on Wednesday.
These comprised potential aces from the Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH) and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) school teams, as well as players who will be taking part in this year’s Southeast Asian Juniors and WTA Future Stars tournaments.
Both Wozniacki and the youths had their serves filmed and studied using video analysis software, courtesy of the SSI. Wozniacki, who currently ranks 14th on the WTA Road to Singapore circuit, also imparted service tips and related her personal experiences to the aspiring stars.
Coached by her father since she was seven years old, Wozniacki noted: “I’ve had different coaches helping my dad because he was never a tennis player, so it was important for me to have a coach who could teach me the right technique.”
Players from Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH) and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) school teams, as well as those taking part in this year’s Southeast Asian Juniors and WTA Future Stars tournaments in a group photo with Caroline Wozniacki. Photo: SportSG
Her words on the importance of guiding figures throughout her career encouraged reflection among the youngsters. Not only did they profess to be thankful for the opportunity to learn from her, one of the world’s best, they also expressed gratitude to their own coaches.
12-year-old Clare Cheng, one of Singapore’s most promising juniors said: “My coaches know me very well. I feel very comfortable around them, as they are very understanding. They do push me, but this is because they want me to be a good tennis player, and I know that they are doing it for my own good.”
Naturally, the sports science aspect of the programme wowed the participants as well, who each had a turn with the equipment. As NYGH player Shanice Poh enthused: “I was very honoured to be given the chance to have my stroke movements filmed. I was also able to closely analyse the various parts of Caroline's serve. I definitely have a better understanding of how technology can play a huge role in helping one become a better tennis player.”
SSI sports biomechanist Ryan Hodierne, who helped lead the session, concurred: “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to get involved in such things, to learn from the best, and for them to just be here, all ears, trying out the different technologies for themselves to see the benefits that they can provide.”
Wozniacki demonstrating a serve at the Singapore Sport Institute, where the latest biomechanical technology was put to good use. Photo: SportSG
All the SSI technology on show left the biggest star of the day impressed as well. Pointing out the advantages of having access to biomechanical technology, Wozniacki remarked: “What makes the difference between a good player and a great player? It’s the small details. And you need to look into the small details, you need to look into your body and make sure that it’s not going to get injured or, at least, try to prevent it as much as possible.”
“More often than not, when you play out there at tournaments, you have a feeling of what you can do better but here; it’s black and white. You can see exactly what you can do better [to prevent injury]; you can see it on video,” she added.
“I think that it’s very important to have this facility here. It’s absolutely amazing. This can help so many of you kids, especially as you get better and older.”