Phillips on the cusp of something big’
Daniel Phillips said he is encouraged by the progress that he has made in his development both on and off of the tennis court.
The 13-year-old is learning his craft at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Barcelona, where he has made significant strides towards his main objective of becoming a professional player.
“I’m pleased with how I have grown not just in tennis but also in other things,” Phillips said.
Phillips underlined his potential during a successful tour of the Caribbean this summer, winning three of the four tournaments he entered.
“The tour was the beginning of something big and these tournaments show how I’ve progressed not just in tennis but also as a person,” Phillips said.
The Bermudian claimed the under-14 titles in Aruba, Bahamas and Jamaica but was denied a clean sweep after losing his qualifying match and was handed a defaulted loss for not being present to resume play after a rain delay in Santo Domingo.
“Most of the [defeats] I got was because I either [lost] focus or underestimated my opponent,” Phillips said. “I did have some nerves but you just got to play your game and don’t let the other guy intimidate you.”
Phillips was accompanied in the Caribbean by long-time coach Sam Maybury, who said winning was not the only objective.
“It’s all about his development and not so much the results,” said Maybury, the former Bermuda No 1 player. “As it is the results are good but in the end we are working on reaching professional tennis.
“He is 13 years old and on course for us to begin 15 to 16 professional tennis, so there is a step-by-step processes that we go through in order to reach those levels.”
Maybury is encouraged to see Phillips thriving at the Rafa Nadal Academy.
“He had an excellent report this year academically and on the court and we are really looking for good things,” Maybury said. “We were really pleased to be welcomed at the Rafa Nadal Academy right at the point when they had started so they actually look at Daniel as a role model.”
That Phillips is able to pursue his ambition owes much to the generous donations from Karim Alibhai, founder and principal of Gencom and owner of Rosewood Bermuda, long-time Bermuda resident Chris Maybury and Paul Telford, the managing director of Rosewood Bermuda.
“This young kid has prodigious talent as he has gone and proved through the Rafa Nadal Academy, which is perhaps the hardest tennis school in the world and winning through the Caribbean,” Maybury said.
“This young man can be the best tennis player Bermuda has ever seen.
“I felt it incumbent upon me and Karim Alibhai felt the same thing that we support this young man.
“We see it as a good investment because he has produced the most fantastic results in the most sportsmanlike way, so I think he’s a credit to Bermuda, a credit to tennis and a credit to Sam.”
Telford added: “I think that Daniel is an inspiration to us all and obviously we are very appreciative of everything that Chris has done, Karim Alibhai has done for Daniel and also Sam as coach.
“I think it’s incredible that these folks have invested and put so much time and energy and money towards Daniel’s development.
“I think all of Bermuda really needs to get behind that. So I would encourage everybody to consider contributing to Daniel’s efforts by e-mailing Sam at email@example.com.”
Phillips’s coach Maybury thanked the player’s trio of backers for their generous support.
“You can’t do it alone and you need the people around you who see that you are serious,” Maybury said. “So we really appreciate Paul, Chris and Karim.”
Phillips plays in the MTM Championships this week and is also scheduled to play in the Highland Spring Junior Open next week in Bermuda.
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