As a child, Manroop Gill would watch his father and uncle play tennis at the Brennan Park courts and vowed to one day join them.
Years later, Gill followed in his family’s footsteps and has now parlayed that early love of the sport of tennis into a berth at the Canadian National Championships in Montreal later this month.
“I would just sit there and watch them play,” he said. “And then when I got older, me, my dad and my sister would play. It was just for fun in the beginning, but then a couple years ago I played and won some challenger [lower-ranked] tournaments and after those we moved on to the bigger ones.”
Gill attended Valleycliffe Elementary and played at the Brennan Park courts almost every day before moving to Vancouver in 2011 to better train for the sport. Gill played on the U-12 rep soccer team in Squamish before devoting his time to tennis.
This year has been a breakout one for Gill, as he reached the finals of the Icebreaker tournament in January and the Junior Indoor Provincials in March. But it was the Junior Provincials on June 28 where Gill stepped up, winning the U14 draw in both the singles and doubles category. The win vaulted him to the No. 1 position among U14 tennis players in the province.
“This whole year has gone really good for me,” he said. “My coaching has really helped me out a lot. At the last provincials I played pretty good, but I was a little surprised I won the whole thing. It felt good to win.”
One of the perks of being a top player is the endorsement deals and Gill managed to secure a deal with Wilson, the same company that helps outfit his tennis hero, Roger Federer.
“I’ve always used their equipment anyways, so it was pretty cool to get a deal like that,” he said.
Gill will travel to Montreal for the Canadian National Championships from Aug. 6 to 12 and compete against 40 of the top players in his age group from across the country.
“I’m hoping to make at least the top 10 in nationals,” he said.
He added that he does see a future for himself in the sport, but Gill still has a few years to go before he can decide to go pro or secure a scholarship.
Visit www.tennisbc.org for more information on Gill and tennis in B.C.