John Azar serving up a storm in tennis - Brother Daniel following in footsteps
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Azar brothers John Jr and Daniel are creating a storm in tennis by winning several age-group tournaments here and abroad.
John Jr recently added the All-Jamaica Tennis 12 and under title, a third consecutive to silverware won by him locally. He won the All-Island Prep Schools Championship last year and the Caribbean Invitational tournament in Antigua on July 4, 2013.
On the international stage, the 12-year-old won the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments in Mexico and El Salvador.
"I feel good and proud to have won those tournaments as I have worked very hard in training under coach Matthew Rodriquez," John Jr disclosed.
SUMMER VACATION AND TRAINING
The Azar brothers departed the island last week to spend the summer holidays at the Smatt Academy in Miami in the United States of America and will be involved in a training camp under the instructions of tennis coach Eddie Smatt. The former All-Jamaica champion is also the boys' uncle.
For John Jr, his tennis journey began some seven years ago and he has grown to love the sport that he was introduced to by his father, John Snr.
"My goal is to get a tennis scholarship and move on to win the Wimbledon tennis title. That is every tennis player's dream," he pointed out.
He will continue preparing for tough competitions in upcoming junior age group tournaments.
The Hillel Academy student is balancing the sport with academics and pointed out that "academically it is going well as I have to find time to study and do homework".
His mom Gabriela ensures that both boys take the academic side of things seriously.
"Our mom insists on the balance. However, the work is harder for me now since I started high school last year," he said.
On the other hand, Daniel, who is three years younger than John Jr, is following his brother's footsteps.
He started some six years ago and has also captured several titles in the 10 and under age group.
"I really love the sport and I want to be a top junior player and also move on to win Wimbledon," the Hillel Preparatory School student stated.
Both boys are also engaged in other sports like table tennis, football and are learning to play cricket as well. They are under the guidance of coaches Matthew Rodriguez and Noel Rutherford in Jamaica.
John Snr notes that he and his wife won't pressure the boys and will offer them support along their journey.
"As far as they want to go, God's willing," he said. "we will offer support to both boys in order for them to reach their dreams."