In tennis, confidence is the biggest key to success. Although the sport demands a great deal of physical ability, mental strategies are equally important; mental strategies are fed by confidence.
Second-year athlete, Shara Surabi, 19, embodies the definition of confidence when it comes to GCC men’s tennis.
Undefeated in league competition, Surabi holds the No. 1 position at GCC with only one defeat from San Bernardino thus far this season.
Surabi was born in Iran, but at age 3, he moved with his family to Sweden, where he spent most of his life. There, he picked up a tennis racket for the first time at age 8 and started his career as a tennis player.
Surabi attributes much of his tennis acumen to his former coach, Peter Ramer, whom he trained with in Sweden.
“He has motivated me and helped me to play better mentally,” said Surabi.
While in Sweden, Surabi maintained a top 10 ranking in competition in the 16 and under division.
However, when he arrived to the United States at age 16, Surabi did not find he had the same interest in tennis as he had in Sweden. He found himself in a “slump,” unable to play to his full potential.
Enrolling in Burbank High School, Surabi decided to play on the tennis team there. Ranked between No. 1 and No. 2 singles as a junior and No. 1 as a senior on his team, Surabi competed on one of the strongest teams in the California Interscholastic Federation.
Upon his arrival to the United States, Surabi met Harout Khatchatrian, a coach whom Surabi admires and respects.
“When I first came to the States, I wasn’t very motivated to play tennis,” said Surabi, “Coach Khatchatrian motivated me again and put me back up on my game.”
Even up until last season, Surabi did not feel that he was up to par in his game and as a result, he played No. 3 on the Vaquero team last season. “I didn’t practice, and I fell behind,” said Surabi as he explained that he was not playing to full potential.
“Now I practice six days a week and go to the gym four times a week.”
This has seemed to improve Surabi’s game immensely as it has given him the undefeated title for this season.
His new enthusiasm for the game has given him motivation, and has brought him to a higher level of play.
“Shara is playing really well,” said Vaquero men’s tennis coach Bob Mackay. “He’s improved a lot since last year and is just playing a more solid game.”
Mackay also said that Surabi is probably the most qualified nominee for the Player of the Year Award this season.
The new Surabi states that he’s far more positive and stronger than before.
“I feel a lot more confident now,” Surabi said. “When I step into the court, I now have the confidence to beat any opponent I’m facing.”
Surabi is enjoying his career as a tennis player at the junior college level and hopes to continue his career after he transfers, but his main focus now is his studies.
He said, “I hope that playing tennis will help me to get a scholarship to a university, so I can further my education.”