Wimbledon and beyond!
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My name is Nicola Slater and I am still that 12-year-old girl who dreams of being the best in the world at tennis.
It all started with me being upset that I wasn’t playing football (soccer), at a club we finally found who accepted girls on their team, and instead found myself in my tiny school on the badminton court with the net lowered, a 21″ racquet in my hand and hitting sponge balls.
My mum, sister and I now look back and laugh because my mum had found the perfect solution for us to be babysat, and the best part; she only had to pay £4 ($7) for two hours since we were only 11 months apart and could join in each other’s class without a noticeable age gap.
“I paid for all 4 weeks in advance so you’ll do them and then you can stop” and then… I fell in love.
Late to the sport and a late bloomer, many coaches said I wouldn’t be able to catch up. There were 3 however who refused to believe that; Jan Collins (the man who introduced me to it), Judy Murray (the most amazing coach, mentor and mum to Wimbledon Champions Andy and Jamie Murray) and Gordon Barclay (county area coach). With their support and coaching I made it into a few county squad sessions a week and the National Squad.
I wasn’t the kid who had a lesson or squads every day, but I did play every day. Whether it was in my garden with the swing ball – that had you using a plastic bat to hit the ball back and forth on the spiral – or whether it was playing against a wall or cycling to the local club to see if there was an adult who wanted to knock some balls around. Even when, during my final two exam years of school I had to focus on my education, I still tried to play whenever possible.
In juniors I was able to represent Scotland, winning Scottish National titles in every age group, competing in British Nationals every year, making Semi-Finals and playing some World Ranked Tournaments.
Being the eldest of 5 however, it became tough for my parents to support me and in my last year of juniors and school I took on 5 jobs at one time to fund my one last “hoorah” of tournaments. After that summer I was going to have to consider my future in something else, which I wasn’t willing to accept.
This is where an American coach saw me play, at those tournaments that summer, and shortly after I was attending the University of Southern Mississippi on a tennis scholarship. From there I transferred and graduated from Florida State University and became what I call a semi pro, since I was coaching to fund my attempts of playing on tour.
That didn’t work for long though and in 2013, thanks to the advice of Judy Murray and Sarah Borwell, a former doubles specialist, I went all in. I quit coaching and focused on being a doubles specialist and I went from 860 to 165 in a matter of months, winning titles and competing at Wimbledon.
My goal for 2015 is to return to Wimbledon and be one of the best players in the world. With your support I can continue to work with my performance coach Sarah Kay Harrison, who I recently started working with and took a tournament title under, pay for travel and accommodation expenses, training expenses, equipment and tournament fees.
If you pledge to me, I pledge to you to be the best I can be!
Thanks for reading,
+Thank Yous and Updates
Newsletter is coming!
The first update is coming! It was due the 30th of March but will be sent out Monday since I am mid tournament (not a bad thing :-) ) I am sorry it is a few days late but I would like to include our results from this week. Wish us luck for the Semi Finals!!! Thanks guys for the support and patience! :-)