Leeds’s own Kiran Gill a class act on tennis court

Kiran Gill.
Kiran Gill.
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Having just turned 11 years old in January, Moortown’s Kiran Gill’s next big step would naturally be the transition to secondary school.

Instead, though, the young tennis star is preparing for an assault on the continent as part of the junior European tennis tour.

Gill, who attends Moortown Primary School, fell in love with tennis as soon as she started playing the sport as a three-year-old and now the aim is to turn professional.

That and to win Wimbledon.

And such is Gill and her family’s dedication to the sport that the youngster will begin her place on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour at Easter with the likelihood being that she will come out of school and undertake the education offered alongside the tour.

Big steps for an 11-year-old to take, but Gill has an old head on young shoulders – admitting that tennis and the ambition to turn pro is her first love, but also acknowledging that education off the court is key.

Competitive

“I started playing at the age of three at Chapel Allerton and I’ve always loved it,” Gill told LS1.

“It’s fun, it’s competitive and I also love it when the girls start smashing their rackets when they are losing.

“I love playing tennis and I know I will enjoy it on the European tour, though I also know that I will have to do some sort of schooling because you need to get educated.”

Gill has been brought up impeccably, both on the court and off it – the youngster living in Moortown with her family, including nine-year-old twin brothers Meva and Meha, who are both golf enthusiasts.

For Gill, though, who trains daily at the John Charles Centre For Sport in Leeds, it is all about tennis and the long-term dreams she holds.

“My dream would be to go to Wimbledon, to be a professional and to be on TV,” she said.

“I would be really happy if I could do that. It would mean such a lot because I practise so much.

“I play nearly every weekday. I train from 4.30pm until half six and then I go home and relax! And do my schoolwork.

“the weekends are mainly spent playing tournaments.”

Gill also knows the right way to behave on court and while admitting to enjoying the spectacle of seeing opponents smash rackets, it is not a habit that the Leeds youngster intends to adopt.

“Some of the girls start crying and get really frustrated,” said Gill, whose tennis idol is Maria Sharapova.

“But I don’t do that, it’s embarrassing and it’s only a game.

“It’s not always about winning and losing – it’s about just trying your best in matches.

“If I lose I don’t really mind if I have played well. As long as I have enjoyed it, that’s fine with me.

“When I win I obviously feel okay as well!”

Gill has so far had plenty of experience of the latter and from her last few years on the county circuit she is ranked the 18th best in Yorkshire for 12 years and under, despite having only just turned 11.

Gill’s father, Jasper, though, says his daughter’s last few years have merely been about gaining tennis experience and that now is the time to make the jump to Europe.

The youngster is joining the Tennis Europe Tour at a young age and her father says that is by design.

“The age limit on the European tour is 10 to 12 and if you miss that two-year slot it’s far too late,” he said. “It’s very crucial that by 10 or 11 you are in Europe so you get two years’ experience.

“Then you are on the world tour by the time you are 12.

“You’ve got to be committed and Kiran enjoys it, so as a parent I support her.”

That support has so far included travelling the length and breadth of the country and now it will involve plane travel alongside his daughter.

By the time she turns 12 next January, Gill is going to be a very well-travelled young lady and she can’t wait.

“I’m fine with the travelling,” she said. “I don’t mind going abroad and I love travelling anyway.

“I like going to different places and meeting new people.

“It’s going to be completely different going around Europe and it may be harder, but I’m excited – about meeting new people and just seeing how they play.”

Just don’t expect her to be smashing any rackets.

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