Persevering in his pursuit of progress
30 January 2018
By Nicolette Mok
TeamSG tennis player Steve Ng is not about to let any challenge stand in his way as he perseveres in his quest for excellence.
Within the TeamSG tennis squad headed for the upcoming Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV competition, there is Shaheed Alam, youngest ATP-ranked player in the squad. There is also Jensen Hiu, a former local ace who has come out of retirement, as well as Roy Hobbs, who boasts years of experience.
Our TeamSG Tennis players at the Davis CupAsia/Oceania Zone Group IV competition.
(L to R) Shaheed Alam, Roy Hobbs, Jensen Hiu and Steve Ng. Photo: Jensen Hiu
And we have Steve Ng, a key player on the team who has played with Shaheed and Roy at the 2017 SEA Games and two previous Davis Cup tournaments. He might not always be in the limelight, but the dependable figure has been an asset to the squad with his wealth of experience and youthful energy.
In fact, over the course of an interview with him, it became evident that the 23-year-old full-time athlete was unique in his own right: a tenacious figure with a burning passion and hunger to excel in the sport that he has played for 13 years now – giving his all relentlessly, in spite of the challenges.
“It’s a calling, for me. I feel that I’ve got to do this. As long as I’m improving, [and] there’s a shot for me, I’ll keep going,” he asserted.
Steve begun playing recreational tennis as a kid, and soon developed a keen interest in the sport. He got his first Davis Cup call-up when he was 17 years old, and went on to compete at two more editions of the tournament, as well as last year’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. This month, he will be flying to Oman for his fourth Davis Cup, feeling more “prepared and confident” than ever.
He shared: “After all the experience I’ve gained, I feel like I’m able to keep my mental focus in place because I already know what to expect. I think it’ll be fun! It’s great to be able to go out there and compete.”
Steve in action at the 2017 ITF Futures Tournament. Photo: Cheah Cheng Poh
The dedicated player travels constantly and, more often than not, he does so alone. Steve flies from country to country for individual tournaments with a singular quest in mind: racking up more competition experience to garner a world ranking.
“There aren’t many full-time tennis players in Singapore competing on the pro-circuit, so when I’m traveling I’m always alone. Sometimes, there isn’t that companionship and it gets lonely,” he revealed, adding that he had actually just gotten back from a two-and-a-half-week stint in China.
Telling us that it was his love for the sport that kept him going, he continued: “Other than that, I do enjoy it. When it gets lonely, I’ll just text my friends or find something to do!”
Of course, as someone who understands the rigour of the sport, Steve also hopes to motivate other young players by showing them just how far one can go with hard work and determination.
“I’m not one who can go up there and give a speech and inspire people. But I feel that I can set a good example for them, so that they can see what one has to do to be a professional player. I just want to do the right things and stay disciplined – the inspiration will come from there,” he explained.
Photo: Cheah Cheng Poh
Having visited the ActiveSG Tennis Academy to practice with the kids, he added: “Young kids need to see [for themselves] to be motivated. If I can be the one to demonstrate nice rallies, show them how far they can go, I’m happy to do so. If they’re impressed, they’ll stay interested and remain in the sport.”
Before the next generation assumes the mantle of shining for Singapore on the world stage, however, Steve has plans laid out for the development of his career. Apart from helping TeamSG gain promotion to Group III of the Davis Cup and obtaining an individual world ranking this year, the tireless athlete also has one more item on his agenda: establishing a suitable base overseas, so that he can continue testing himself in a highly competitive environment.
“In five years, I hope to be ranked 500 and better, and also compete in more SEA Games. The main goal is just to keep improving!” he declared.
Steve’s mission is “not easy”, but he is not about to throw away his shot. Be a part of his journey by cheering him on! Of course, stay tuned to our Facebook page to keep up-to-date on his team’s progress at the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV competition, which runs from 29 January till 3 February!