PHUKET: Darran Ferre was recently appointed as a tennis pro by the Regent Phuket Cape Panwa where he will be launching an academy aimed at coaching young players to a high level. We spoke to Darren about his passion for tennis and his new role at the Regent.
Who is your favourite player and why?
Darran Ferre: Players inspire me for different reasons, at the beginning I was a huge fan of Bjorn Borg and later was a keen follower of Andre Agassi. I had a big appreciation for Steffi Graf’s game and style too. Of the current players, I like Nadal’s intensity and Radwanska’s artistry.
What made you so passionate about tennis to make it your career?
I began aged nine and fell in love with the idea that it’s a relatively simple game to learn but so difficult to master any aspects.
Can you tell me a little bit about your experience as a player and as a teacher of tennis?
I enjoyed playing in England and attained a good level playing tournaments and leagues throughout the UK and Europe. I started teaching at quite young age and coaching tennis has allowed me to travel, meet and teach some fascinating people and also introduce tennis to many children.
What do you like most about tennis?
I really like that there are so many ways to play. It’s a game that really can bring out your personality, which also makes it very interesting to teach. You simply cannot just teach everyone the same way.
What do you like least about tennis?
I enjoy watching “slow” clay court tennis but I was brought up on fast grass so any slow surfaces are quite difficult for me. The slower surfaces simply don’t suit my game as well.
If you had a few simple tips for aspiring tennis players what would they be?
Tennis is becoming more physically demanding and with the new equipment the ball is being hit harder than ever before. The key for the young is learn control, power with control is far more effective. For the older players coming back to tennis, try the new technology, it’s made the game easier and much more enjoyable for many.
Describe the Regent as a venue for people to learn tennis and who are you hoping to attract as students?
The Regent has a fantastic new tiled surface which is very comfortable to play and teach on. The venue is simply perfect for me to launch a new academy which will allow more children to learn tennis.
The new academy will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Monday. If you would like your child to be part of this new academy then please contact me for more details.
Please tell us a bit more about your teaching/coaching philosophy and techniques?
It is very important when learning tennis to get the foundation right. Good control is key. With the right foundation the strokes can be learned more easily and the game simply becomes more enjoyable. Everyone is different, some like more competitive elements, some technique.
You must teach according to what motivates and produce balanced, healthy and happy players.
Tell us a bit about your star player and your hopes for her?
I have trained Sumitra Basnyat since she was eight. Now she is 16 and is one of only 24 girls in Thailand with a world junior ranking. Over the next 18 months she will focus on ladies events with the goal of securing her WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) world ranking before she is 18.
It is tough but she shows great self motivation and she has a good chance to achieve her goals.
Why should people play tennis, what are some of the benefits?
Tennis is a game that can be played until quite late in life and is a great way to socialize and meet new people. It’s also a good fun way to stay healthy. With tennis being such a high profile sport, it means you can watch the top players, follow the circuit quite easily and enjoy the grand slam tournaments. It can become a great hobby.
— Mark Knowles
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