Making her tennis dream come true
Aged four, Britney Korir admired American Serena Williams’ prowess in tennis and wished to just be like her. Now aged 15, she has become an award-winning player, even as her brother Bradley Korir follows suit.
When many people take time to discover their talents, Britney and Bradley Korir who are based in Australia realised theirs when they were barely five years old.
It all started when Britney at a tender age of four admired how award-winning tennis player Serena Williams was making headlines for her prowess in the game.
“At that moment, I just told my parents that I wanted to be like Serena Williams. Since that time, the kind of support I have received from my parents is amazing,” says Britney.
Her parents Bernard and Emily Korir got her a coach to train her and further bought her equipment needed to play the game.
Currently, the 15-year-old is ranked among top 500 tennis female players in the country and brags of over 12 awards that she has won in the last two years.
Her nine-year-old brother who was recently categorised among men who play tennis in Australlia is proud of his sister and learns from her.
“I always dreamt of being listed as a tennis player before the age of 10. I’m proud to have achieved this.
Britney’s love for the game is infectious. She is my hero and I love the fact that she supports me. She helps me warm up before tournaments,” Bradley says.
Tennis, a subject taught in school
On her part, Britney says Bradley is such a strategic player and interesting to watch.
Bradley who is also a golf player has a number of awards on his name and believed that he will get even more of them before he turns 15.
According to Bradley, were it not for Covid-19 pandemic that saw most events cancelled, the two would have won even more.
“Dad and mum have made the love we have for tennis a family affair as they have always joined us whenever we have matches away from home,” he adds.
The 15-year-old girl won a scholarship due to her talent and studies at Maryatville High School, Australlia, a school that also nurtures sports.
Britney and her brother are trained by a personal coach known as Ben Milner who describes Britney as a hard-working girl who improves each new day.
She also has a school training coordinator, Tony Bayles who believes that it is important for students to be allowed to pursue their dreams away from normal learning.
Tennis, he says, is a subject taught in their school just like any other subject such as English and Mathematics.
Maryatville has been a special interest tennis school since 1995. It allows students to combine school studies and high-level tennis coaching with minimal disruption to their school work.
The students receiv broad academic education, specialist tennis coaching by accredited coaches during school hours, on the school’s six hard courts and two synthetic courts.
Their theoretical study includes anatomy and physiology, fitness, diet and nutrition, relationships, sports injuries, drugs in sport and the psychology of winning.
Britney was born in the US while her brother Bradley was born in Australia. Their journey out of Kenya started in 1994 when their parents got scholarships.
“I got a scholarship and went to the US while Bernard got a different scholarship and he went to Australia.
Though we were in a relationship, we had not made it official,” Emily says.
Seven years later, Bernard proposed to Emily. Bernard had paid her a visit in the US where they also got married.
“We got married in Washington DC and moved to Atlanta where Britney was born. When she was four years, she was already playing tennis,” Emily said.
The family later moved to Australia, where they now operate a successful housing business.
According to her father, it is advisable for parents to ensure that they support their children’s talent.
Korir says that he does not understand more of tennis, but he is always there for his children.
“I usually go and watch them play. It makes me proud, especially when I witness them winning,” he says.
Britney’s mastery of the game, recently got the attention of Australia’s Attorney General, Michaelia Cash and she has been picked to work with her in the Australian parliament.
“I spent most of my days in Australian Parliament where I interacted with the leaders and also told them the importance of supporting sports.
I am also working with Vickie Chapman, an Australian politician who represents the South Australian House of Assembly seat of Bragg for the South Australian Division,” she says.
Asked on the challenges she faces as a player, Britney singles out racism, though her positivity has helped her remain strong.
“Racial comments have made me love playing tennis even more. When one attacks me on racial grounds, they usually give me the power to even do better,” Britney reveals.