Getting To Know... Naomi Broady
Published June 11, 2011 10:09
BIRMINGHAM, England - Every young British tennis player dreams of competing in the main draw at Wimbledon, and after three attempts at qualifying, 21-year-old Naomi Broady is about to get her chance. The lanky Lancastrian, currently ranked a career-high No.231, has been awarded a wildcard by the All England Club; as she showed by pushing world No.20 Peng Shuai to the brink in the second round of this week's AEGON Classic, she surely possesses the weapons to cause trouble in SW19.
We caught up with Naomi in Birmingham, where she won through qualifying and beat young French headliner Caroline Garcia in the first round.
How did you get into tennis?
NB: I started when I was about seven. My dad had begun to play socially - he never played professionally but he just really enjoyed the game - and my brother and sister and I would go along. My brother, Liam still plays and is a very good junior. He's ranked in the ATPs now, as well as the ITF. My sister, Emma, is 23 now but she stopped playing tennis when we were younger because we were too much of rivals!
At what point did you decide to get serious about the sport?
NB: When I was 13, I decided to attend a tennis academy in Leeds, which meant I had to go to boarding school. That was the big decision I took - to not live at home any more. That's probably the key moment.
What do you consider the strengths of your game?
NB: Well, my height helps with my serve - I get a lot of power on it. Just the power around my game generally. I'm able to get a lot on the ball naturally.
Did you have a tennis idol when you were growing up?
NB: I've always loved the Williams sisters, especially Serena. It's good for me to watch Venus play as she's built similar to me, but I just love Serena's game.
What's your coaching situation at the moment?
NB: I just travel and work with my dad.
Are you working on any particular aspects of your game?
NB: I still have so much left to develop. It's kind of a positive that I can play and compete at this level, when I still have so much to work on.
If you could steal a shot from another player, what would it be?
NB: I'd take Nadal's forehand. Do I actually get it?
What's been your best tennis moment to date?
NB: At the end of 2009 I won three ITF events in a row, one in Mexico and two in Cuba. Just to win back-to-back tournaments like that was really satisfying.
How do you feel about grass as a surface?
NB: I had a lot of good wins at the start of the year, over girls ranked higher than me, so I know I can compete at this level. But grass is probably my favorite surface, which gives me even more confidence to do well at this time of the year.
What's your favorite tournament?
NB: Wimbledon, of course. It's just the most traditional… and because it's in England, on grass.
What do you make of the focus and pressure that is put on the British players each June?
NB: When you speak to people outside tennis, they don't realize tennis is an all-year sport. The press zones in on Wimbledon to the extent that the British public think Wimbledon is the only time of the year we actually play. You kind of have to take it as it comes.
What do you like to do to relax?
NB: Well, I have a niece who's two years old now, and it's always nice to take time out and go and see how she's doing. Her name is Lola.
What non-tennis skill would you like to have?
NB: I'd be a singer. Straightaway. I'd love to be able to sing out loud while driving in the car and not be thinking, oh my God, I'm going to break the windows! I really like Adele at the moment… she's got a really good voice, even when she's singing live.
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?
NB: I really wanted to meet Michael Jackson. As that's not possible now, I would choose someone who's really changed the world, rather than someone who's just famous… Nelson Mandela, or someone like him.
If you could take a holiday anywhere in the world, where would you go?
NB: I really want to go to Bora Bora, where they have those huts on stilts in the sea. Maybe to the Maldives, because it might be under water in a few years.
So if you were stuck on a desert island and could have only one luxury, what would it be?
Apart from your family and friends, what's your most treasured possession?
NB: Probably my necklace. I'm quite superstitious, and not the most confident flyer, and I feel better when I'm wearing it.
How far did you go in your education?
NB: I stopped after my GCSEs. I'm thinking about whether I'm going to take a course by correspondence, a language or something else I was interested in. But I'd probably feel I needed someone right there to help me when I got stuck, and on the road that could be quite difficult.
If not tennis…
NB: I've always loved working with kids, so maybe something in that area. I'm also interested in psychology. But hopefully I'll be in tennis for a long time to come, so I won't have to think about that for a while!
Check out Naomi's official website at www.naomibroady.co.uk.