THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The youngster who steps out of the front door is a far cry from Rafael Nadal, his hero. He looks rather youngish for a 16-year-old, has a ready smile and holds the racquet like a true pro. His record says Varun Nair is on the way to becoming one.
Over last week, Varun won the Under-16 singles and doubles and finished second in the Under-18 at the 26th G V Raja Memorial Tennis Championships held at the Trivandrum Tennis Club (TTC).
He beat his own doubles partner Revanth Kishore to emerge the Under-16 singles champion. In the doubles final, Varun and Revanth beat Raj Narayan and Kevin John Cherian, and in the Under-18 final, Varun lost to Sooraj H.
The right-hander is predictably thrilled with his performance, but says he didn’t really like the idea of knocking a ball to and fro across a court when he first began playing the game. "I started playing tennis when I was seven, but I can’t say I liked it much then. When I started attending tournaments, I started to like it, though,’’ he says, trying hard to look casual for a photograph.
At L’ecole Chempaka, where he studied, he was also part of the basketball team. The elder son of Dr Rajesh Nair, a dermatologist, and Manju, B S, a software engineer at Technopark, Varun began his first steps in tennis at the Trivandrum Tennis Club.
"I was coached then by Binu Mani, but now we have a Canadian coach at TTC, Daniel Jaworsky,’’ he said.
Varun’s first win was in the Under-10 category in the TTC league matches. Other major wins include the Under-12 and Under-14 State championships. At present, he is ranked number two in the State in the Under-16 division. Varun has a younger brother Aman, who is a class V student.