San Salvador, El Salvador – Selected by Tennis Canada, two BC juniors have had the opportunity recently to travel and play on the ITF Circuit in Central America. North Vancouver’s Jovan Sihota and Port Moody’s Alexandra Nielsen spent the last two week’s of February in Guatemala and El Salvador as part of a Tennis Canada Tour, with newly hired national coach and a BC-born former player, Nikolai Haessig. We had the chance to catch up with Lexa and hear about her amazing opportunity to represent Canada on the ITF Tour:

How did you get selected for this tour? Is this your first international tour playing for Canada or have you been on any before?
I think that I got selected for this tour for the hard work and dedication that I brought to the court. I have been on trips before with Tennis BC but never a trip with the Canadian team.

What’s the biggest thing you have learned on this trip off the court?
The biggest thing that I have learned on the court is that no matter what’s going on on-court, believing that I can win and to put my heart and soul into the match.
What’s the biggest difference competing in BC or Canada VS competing at international ITFs?
The biggest difference between playing in BC (Canada) and internationally is the environment, opponents and courts. In Canada and BC you play a lot of the same players you know the environment your in and most likely have played on the courts. Playing internationally is just playing in the unknown.
Knowing what you know now at the end of the tour, what advice would you give yourself if it were Day 1 of the tour?
To just always play my game and to step onto the court believing that anything is possible. Also, to know that this trip is about improving not only on the court, but off the court as well.

What did an average day on this specific ITF Tour look like?
We would wake up pretty early depending on when our matches were. We would train on the morning for an hour more if we didn’t have a match. We would stretch, do fitness, and play our match or practice again in the afternoon.
How did you manage being away from school and/or handling school work on the road?
I find that doing homework on the road is very hard because after a long day of training I am always very tired, but I know that I have to get it done because school is very important. Also, before I leave I always communicate with my teachers and prepare well.

What goals have you set for yourself in 2017?
My goals for 2017 are to always give it my all and to improve everyday with a very strong mindset.

What’s next for you after this tour?
After this tour, Nationals are coming up, but before I go to Nationals I will be going to California.

To view Lexa and Jovan’s result in Central America, as well as, the other Canadians who competed in Guetemala and El Salvador, including BC’s Sophia Ho, click here: Copa Universidad Galileo Guatemala ITF, Copa El Salvador ITF. Stay tuned next week as we hear from Jovan Sihota about his experience as well.