Dubai: Time is running out for Amirvala Madanchi. The Dubai-based Iranian, who turns 18 on July 17, wants to play in a Grand Slam by the time he turns 20 and win one before his 23rd birthday.
“My goal is set. I am taking a break from studies for six months so that I can set out on this adventure and the next few months will see where I am headed,” Madanchi told Gulf News prior to a training session with coach Jean-Francois Danican.
““I don’t think my goal is unrealistic. I believe in myself and my capacity to put in the hard work to achieve this goal.”
His love of tennis developed more by chance. As a boy in a sport-mad family in Iran, Madanchi enjoyed playing football, his position being goalkeeper. But there were too many injuries and Madanchi followed a suggestion from his uncle to take up a ‘safer’ sport instead.
“At first it was tough for me,” he said.
“But as the time went by, I started enjoying my time on court. If at all I owe someone big time, it is my mum’s brother Kami as he is the one who has really backed me.
“Maybe this is because he is a tennis player himself and till today I find his advice and his presence so valuable in my evolution as a player.”
His move to the UAE came after his mother’s company opened a branch in Dubai. His father moved his real estate business to the emirate right at the start of the boom.
Being the only child, the move was a huge jump. But with Dubai boasting of some of the best sports facilities in the world, his parents could not have opted for a better destination as Madanchi went about pursuing a full-time career in tennis.
“After moving to Dubai when I was ten, I struggled at first to find either players or a good coach,” he said.
“But then I played in an under-12 tournament at Al Wasl Club and we met coach Francois [Danican] who has been such a great inspiration to me.”
The past eight years have seen Madanchi come through as one of the best juniors in the UAE. After just 32 matches on the ITF circuit, his ranking reached a career-high 208 at the beginning of the year.
Tennis Emirates, the governing body for the sport in the UAE, has approached the teenager to be part of the UAE’s Davis Cup squad this season.
“I believe it is possible to achieve thanks to the support I have received over the past few years from my parents, my family, my friends, coach Francois and all at Al Wasl Club,” he said.
“But the journey for me has just begun and I know deep within that I can make it and realise a dream of being at the top of men’s tennis.
“Though I don’t know whether the credit for my success will go to Iran or the UAE.”