Truro tennis players off to nationals
Testing their mettle
TRURO - Truro's Rumana Rafiq will play against some of the best tennis players in the country her age, then she'll get to watch some of the best in the world.
The 10-year-old will be in under 12 nationals in Montreal Aug. 13-17, the same time the Rogers Cup will be held in the city.
Tennis Canada has arranged for players to watch parts of the event as well as have dinner with some of the pros.
"I'm really excited about it," Rumana said. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
But she isn't the only one who will soon get the chance to see how she stacks up against the top 40 players across the country her age.
Rumana's 14-year-old sister Farina, and 13-year-old Dennis Keaveney will compete at under 14 nationals in Aurora, Ont., Aug. 20-24.
It will be the first time competing at a national event for the Rafiq sisters. Keaveney, however, took part in under 12 nationals two years ago.
"The first couple of matches I was really overwhelmed," he said of his first experience on the national stage. "But I settled down after that. I think (being there before) will really help me."
The three qualified for nationals through their Atlantic Canadian rankings.
The top five ranked players in under 14 and the top four in under 12 earn a berth in the national event.
Keaveney was ranked third, while Farina was ranked fourth and Rumana holds a second seed.
Keaveney said the competition will be tough.
"I've played in open tournaments here against 20-year-olds and they're still not at that level," he said. "A lot of the players there train daily all year round."
Keaveney said he's hoping to stay within the top 30 at the event, while Farina's goal is to win her first match and build from there. Rumana is gunning to win her pool.
Though all three are hoping for success on the court, they're also looking forward to the event for other reasons.
"I'm looking forward to the social aspect too because a lot of my friends are going," Keaveney said.
Farina said she's looking forward to see where she stands on the national stage.
"It'll be nice to see how much I have to improve because there's going to be some really good players there."
Rumana agreed with her sister, but said the opportunity to watch some of the best in the world is an added bonus.
"I'm really looking forward to that," she said.