Interviewee: Tyra Lithiby
Interiviewer, Editor, Graphic Designer: Pat Sevikul
My name is Tyra Lithiby, I'm a 15 year-old junior tennis player, and I study at Harrow International School Bangkok. I started playing tennis when I was 7, and I used to do swimming, athletics, and T-ball.
What was your story growing up and how did you get into tennis?
I've always been a sports type of person growing up. I got into all different kinds of sports and one day my mom suggested tennis when I was 7 years old, just to try it for fun. Then, I started getting better and better and everyone could see that there was a future for me in tennis, so I took it professionally, and now I’ve been playing tennis for 8 years.
The journey has been rough. There were ups and downs and it is emotionally challenging to always be at your best. You need to train hard, eat healthy, and it is tiring, but the journey has been unreal, and I can't wait for the future. The ups in tennis are high and the lows in tennis are even lower.
The ups in tennis are high and the lows in tennis are even lower.
- Tyra Lithiby
How has tennis impacted your life?
Tennis changed my life. Although I don't get to live a life like other people, such as not being able to hang out with friends as much, I receive opportunities that others don't have but wish for, so I'm very grateful for having tennis in my life.
Do you have any women in sports you look up to?
I've always looked up to Serena Williams because she is a fighter. It really is amazing seeing her journey in tennis and it really inspires me to fight like she does.
What do you love most about playing tennis?
I love achieving goals I set for myself in tennis. I love the satisfaction of winning and hearing the three famed words, “game set match” because it makes me work harder and harder to get to where I wanna be.
I love the satisfaction of winning and hearing the three famed words, “game set match” because it makes me work harder and harder to get to where I wanna be.
- Tyra Lithiby
What has tennis taught you that academic subjects in school can’t?
Something tennis has taught me that academic subjects cant is perseverance. Tennis has helped me develop mental strength, for example, competitiveness, problem solving, and the responsibility to look after yourself (sleeping early, eating healthy etc.)
What experiences and opportunities has tennis brought you?
Tennis has brought me amazing opportunities. It gave me the opportunity to travel the world for competitions all over Europe, gain new life experiences, meet new people, and it brought me to the person I am today.
You’ve achieved many awards at a very young age! What is the proudest
moment and accomplishment that you’ve achieved so far?
My proudest moment is getting into the Thailand national U16 team because it is a great honour to represent my country, and also it has been something that I have dreamt of ever since I was a kid. I did trials for 2 years and I lost and didn't get in, but I didn't stop trying to achieve it. Then, the moment that I worked so hard for finally came.
What are some of the challenges you have faced and what motivates you to
In tennis, your mentality is the biggest aspect that affects a lot of players. I wanted to give up about a million times on my journey, but what helped motivate me was my family and my supporters who supported me the whole way, and never stopped believing in me. I felt like I couldn't give up because that would mean that I would be giving up on them, and on something that I had worked so hard for basically my whole life. I'm glad that I kept going because it was so worth it looking back now.
What do you think is the most challenging thing about fully pursuing a sport?
What’s most challenging about pursuing a sport starts when you begin to train, hoping to go professional. Once you hop on that path, you aren't allowed to live a normal life like others, you don't get to have what others have, and you have to be strict with yourself, in order to stick to a plan and achieve the very best.
Are there any stereotypes or misconceptions that you face as an aspiring athlete?
The stereotypes and misconceptions that athletes face, especially in tennis, is that a lot of people, mainly men, are under the idea that women work less hard and don't achieve as much, so men get more prize money because they supposedly work harder.
What do you think is the biggest barrier that prevents young women from getting involved in sports?
The biggest barrier that prevents young women from getting involved in sports is the lack of support from their family, school, and the people around them.
What are your thoughts on the representation of women in sports?
In the last few years, mainly this year, there's notably been many campaigns and movements that aim to make women in sports more well known. Although, I still want to see more appreciation for the work that's put in by women, and also equality in the field.
How do we encourage young girls to get involved in sports?
You can encourage them by giving them role models to look up to and by making camps and competitions, so that it is enjoyable and rewarding for them.
Where and what do you see yourself doing in the future?
I see myself playing pro in the future, and honestly just playing tennis for my whole life, because I want to go the furthest I can go no matter what happens.