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Top junior players reflect on challenges of lockdown

Feb 05, 2021
written by: Tennis Manitoba
written by: Tennis Manitoba
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Stefan Barre and Andrea Oros aren’t letting the pandemic get in the way of them reaching their tennis goals.

Barre, 17, and Oros, 13, are two of the top junior players in the province. Code red lockdown has presented many obstacles for young athletes like Barre and Oros, but these two aren’t getting discouraged.

“What’s motivating me is that one day this will be back to normal,” said Barre, a Grade 12 student at Glenlawn Collegiate. “If I put in the work now and continue to work out, talk to coaches and fight through it, then the hard work will pay off and hopefully one day we’ll be back to where we were before.”

Barre aspires to play tennis at the post-secondary level and has talked to some schools down south as well as the University of Britsh of Columbia about a tryout opportunity. When you’re stuck at home, it’s hard to show coaches that you have what it takes.

“I had tape from this summer. We had a club tournament (at Winnipeg Lawn) so that’s the most recent tape we had so I’m just showing anything that I can,” Barre said.

“Coaches are pretty understanding because most people are in the same boat with not being able to play. Coaches are relying on other people’s word or the video that you do have.”

Barre remains active at home and studies film from some of his favourite players such as Australian Nick Kyrgios. He said it helps to know that even the pros are making sacrifices these days.

“At the Australian Open, players were hitting at mattresses in their rooms,” he said.

“It’s kinda funny to watch how these players are dealing with it and how everyone’s in the same boat.”

Oros is trying to put herself in the best position possible to succeed when restrictions are lifted. She used to practice for four or five hours a day, but with courts closed, she’s been lifting weights, riding a bike, and putting a big emphasis on improving her footwork. It’s hard work, but she’s not complaining as she has big aspirations.

Oros

“I would like to first win nationals and then win big tournaments like ITF and then eventually be top 5 in the world. That’s my biggest goal and then hopefully No. 1 in the world in the WTA,” Oros said.

Similar to Barre, Oros has been using the extra time to watch the pros. One of her favourites is American Sofia Kenin. Oros admits not every day is easy when you’re not allowed to do what you love, but she tries to focus on the fact that she can use this time to zone in on herself and make strides on the mental side of the game. But even though she’s making the most of the situation, she’s anxiously waiting to step back onto a court.

“I’m going to be so happy and excited,” Oros said.

“It’s going to be a great moment. When I get back on the court, I’m going to try to get the feeling back of playing. I’ll probably play (a lot) of tennis and not have any breaks. I’ll be so happy.”