Hithen Sreelesh, a Class VII student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya here, has taken his passion for tennis to the next level by winning the under-12 national ranking tennis tournament held in Thiruvananthapuram recently. The young champion, who has many titles in his kitty, started playing tennis with his elder brother Sishir at the age of six.
At the national ranking tournament organised by the Trivandrum Tennis Club, Hithen garnered 15 All India Tennis Association points. It is hard work and dedication that drive the budding player. His parents, V.K. Sreelesh and Sreeja Sreelesh, both dentists, say that he is currently ranked first in the State and his national ranking is 40.
His day starts at 5.30 a.m. and his whole day is scheduled till 10 p.m. He practises tennis for four hours a day, topping it with one hour of fitness regimen, which also include swimming and athletics.
Hithen’s ambition is to become an international player and his parents are sparing no effort to get him groomed into one. The dentist couple have built a tennis court close to their residence at Thana here. Hithen was the under-10 State champion in 2011 and the under-12 State champion in 2013.
He was also the runner-up in the national tournament last year. “Hithen shifted to Bangalore for intensive coaching for two years at the Bhupathi Tennis Academy there,” Dr. Sreelesh and Dr. Sreeja said.
Now he goes to the academy every alternate week, they said adding that Hithen has the support of the school authorities because he is among the top-scorers in his class as well. He also got special training from international coaches like Bob Brett. His local coach is Sreekumar.