Sport: Tennis Player from the UK
I suspect that tennis has always been in my genes. My mum was a professional tennis umpire for over 20 years, so I spent much of my early years attending tournaments, from Grand Slams to Davis Cup. From the age of 3, I have rarely been seen without a racket in my hand. As soon as I could walk, it was all I wanted to do and I would spend hours in the back garden playing determined that I would beat my mum – who was always pretty good at tennis.
However, it was at Wimbledon that my interest really ignited. It was here that my mum bought me my first ‘proper’ tennis racket at the age of 6. As you can imagine I was desperate to get on a court & hit a few balls – and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to do this on the grass courts at Wimbledon! It was at this time that my mum saw Novak Djokovic, whom she knew well, and was chatting whilst I tugged at her begging to be allowed to go and hit with my new racket. Novak asked me what I wanted and immediately offered to take me onto the practice courts. Thirty minutes later, after trying desperately to impress my favourite player, he came off to say I was talented and needed a coach. The rest, as they say is history!
I have subsequently spent every waking moment playing tennis. Whether that is against a wall (driving my parents mad), or on court, my life is about improving the player that I am. It hasn’t always been an easy journey. I injured my wrist badly a couple of times as I was relatively small versus my peers, and still developing, so I had to avoid the older age categories which other players benefited from playing, seeing their rankings jump whilst mine stayed relatively static. I also missed six months of tennis pre covid, so in total, had around a year of missed tournaments. Despite this set back, I have worked everyday on my fitness. I run five times a week, attend the gym at least three times a week as well as train six times a week on court. This has enabled me to improve my ranking by over 800 places last summer (following GCSE’s where tennis took a backseat).
In order for my career to progress I have chosen American University for Sport as I would love to become a professional tennis player. I appreciate that this is an ambitious dream and on paper, I may not look at strong as some of the other players of my age. However, I am a late developer and have only recently started to grow in height and stature. I believe that a university tennis path will only play to my strengths, allowing me the time to develop both physically and mentally whilst supporting my academic ambitions in parallel.
So why me? Essentially, I am the ultimate team player. I have been involved with my club and school across a multitude of activities from helping with the younger children’s summer camps, to umpiring tournaments and supporting my coach with his lessons acting as a hitting partner. I regularly represent the club and the feedback is that I am so supportive of the other players. Always positive and encouraging, it is a skill that I believe sets me apart from others.
I also have an unrivalled work ethic. Nobody works harder, whether that’s fitness or just hitting a ball, I have always given this sport everything that I have. I am proud of the person it has made me. I recognise the importance of this focus and hard work, I also know that sometimes you must put the team before yourself. This isn’t always easy, but it is vital for team success. Ask any of the parents at any event. I am the one they feedback as being supportive and outgoing. Always making an effort to speak to the other players and to offer a shoulder or advice if needed, I am the person whose sportsmanship is recognised on a regular basis. This is one of my critical values.
My current course studying for a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport is helping further develop my knowledge of fitness, training, nutrition and psychology, which in turn is paying dividends with my tennis. This is building effectively on my previous GCSE Biology and PE skills and helping me better understand the requirements and commitment needed to be a professional athlete.
I believe that I bring a level of fun, commitment, sportsmanship, and dedication that will be hard to find in others. My entire life has been about tennis, obviously balanced with my academic commitments. Having spent many years holidaying in the States, I know that this is where I want to spend my time at the next stage of my life and I can guarantee, nobody will work harder to make this a success for myself and for the institution that I end up studying with.
I write this letter without any hesitation to recommend Jake Fascione for consideration of the scholarship being offered by your organisation. I have had the privilege of not only knowing Jake for the past ten (10) years but also of coaching him as well. Throughout this time, I can honestly say that I have never met a more focused young man with the intent of performing every task to his absolute best ability. His drive and dedication to perfection despite whatever circumstances may arise are a characteristic that is invaluable to those who are true leaders.
Jake has always given his maximum effort. He continuously seeks additional information on whatever topics that may be covered on court. This can only be described as further evidence of his limitless desire to continue the learning process far and beyond the scope of what we may be covering on the court. As a tennis coach, I greatly appreciate his desire to learn and his willingness to lead by example. I can truly say that he has been a joy to teach and will be sorely missed.
In my capacity as Jake’s tennis coach, I have witnessed a young man that is willing to give every ounce of his efforts for his teammates and their common goal of success. Although, he may not have the best ranking his potential is huge with his desire and work ethic he can go a long way in the game.
It is without question that Jake leaves everything on the court. Jake is the type of young man that coaches dream of coaching and he will always be the benchmark of what we here at Wimborne Tennis Club Academy would expect of our players.
Head Performance Coach
Wimborne Tennis Club
August 2023, has achieved a Triple Distinction in Sport BTEC Extended Diploma (equivalent to 3 x A grades at A’level)