By Hayley Wildes
Eleven-year-old Berwick local, Mudiwa Munyimani is a determined young tennis player and his recent success is a testament to that.
The prodigious talent has won many national tournaments and last month claimed the prized 2018 12-and-under singles Australian Grasscourt Championship at Kensington Gardens in Adelaide.
Having won his way through to the final – winning all four matches – Mudiwa found himself in a situation that required plenty of guts and grit.
Taking on New South Welshman, Jeremy Zhang in the final, Mudiwa dropped the first set 2-6, and was trailing 1-4, in the second set.
He needed to find a way to get back in the match quickly.
Mudiwa did just that and was able to claw his way back by winning five consecutive games and took the thrilling second set, 6-4.
With maturity beyond his years, Mudiwa didn’t emphatically celebrate his second set triumph as he knew there was still plenty of work to be done.
“I was excited, but I knew I had to play a match tie-break.” He said.
He kept his focus and took the match-tiebreaker in an electrifying display, 10-8 – completing a comeback that will be remembered for a very long time.
Did he always believe he could comeback from a set and 1-4 down?
“Yes, I had to keep fighting and find something that worked.” Mudiwa said.
What makes the victory even more remarkable is the fact that Mudiwa was one year younger than the majority of the field and will be eligible to defend his title in 2019.
Mudiwa’s mother, Mabble, talked about her son’s start in tennis and how it all came about.
“We got him in to tennis when he was about three – just as something for him to do because he used to bounce off the walls.” She joked.
“Then he started some coaching and the coaches said, ‘He’s taking it up very quickly compared to the other boys, do you want to start a few lessons with him on his own?’”
Since then, Mudiwa has taken the tennis scene by storm and is now home-schooled to allow him to better balance schooling, tennis and rest.
With a busy training and competition schedule, Mudiwa’s love for the game is still strong.
“I just like having fun and playing. I like being competitive.” He said.
Mudiwa possesses a tremendous serve and his forehand is another weapon that his opponents need to be wary of. There are two players in particular who he tries to emulate on the court.
“Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios.” He said.
“I like how Federer is calm and I like Kyrgios’ serve.”
Mudiwa said he hopes to be a professional tennis player in the future and be able to fire down serves just like Nick Kyrgios.