Tuesday 20 November 2018

Meet the rising Irish tennis star who has given up her life of home comforts to chase a dream

Ireland’s Georgia Drummy
Ireland’s Georgia Drummy

Tracy Wing

Ireland's Georgia Drummy could be forgiven for believing she has already made it as a tennis star.

As the Dublin teenager chats to Independent.ie in the interview room at Wimbledon to discuss her life as a budding tennis professional, she is within touching distance of the greatest stage in her sport.

The roars from Centre Court as her hero Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic went head to head in an epic Wimbledon semi-final could be heard as she looks back on her journey from Dublin's Fitzwilliam Club to the iconic home of tennis, yet Drummy knows her story has only just begun.

A quarter-finalist in the Girls Doubles event at Wimbledon this year, Drummy also won a round in the Girls Singles event at the US Open earlier this month, but she admits that stepping up from the junior ranks to take on the likes of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova on the biggest stages in the game will be no easy task.

"It is great to be playing in all of the big tournaments, but I know the next step is massive," says the 18-year-old, who is currently ranked at No.40 in the junior rankings.

"Moving out of the juniors and making a successful career in the professional ranks is a tough challenge, but my hope and dream is to get back to Wimbledon and play on Centre Court at some stage. If it takes me five years to get there then so be it, but that has to be the aim for any player.

Georgia Drummy, pictured alongside Independent.ie's Kevin Palmer at Wimbledon
Georgia Drummy, pictured alongside Independent.ie's Kevin Palmer at Wimbledon

"Being at Wimbledon was so cool. We share the dressing room with the pros and being around them is amazing. It's so inspiring to be around them and when you see these top players having practice sessions and doing what they do, it makes me want to work on my game.

"It was also nice to be flying the Irish flag at Wimbledon and there were lots of Irish people in the crowd supporting me, which was nice. Once you get to play at Wimbledon, you want to come back again and again.

"I certainly feel like I'm close to the top girls in the junior game and hopefully I make the improvements I need to my game to take it to the next level."

It takes real courage for a young teenager to walk away from her family, friends and home comforts in a bid to make it big as a top tennis player, but Drummy took that decision a couple of years ago as she followed a path mapped out by giant of the game like Sharapova by moving to Florida in a bid to seek top level practice partners and take her game to the next level.

"It's a big commitment to leave home and try to improve my game in the States, but it has definitely helped me a lot," continues Drummy, with an American lilt creeping into her Irish accent.

"One of the issues in Ireland is getting top level players to compete against and I'm certainly getting that in America. Andy Murray has that issue in Scotland when he was growing up and decided to move away to play against better players and it definitely helps.

"The standard in the States is fantastic. I was playing the same players in Ireland all the time and it wasn't really helping me to improve my game, but that has all changed since I made the move and the competition I get now is great for me.

"My parents were happy for me to make this move to America. They knew it was the right decision for my game and even if they might have been sad to say goodbye to me, they supported me all the way.

"Training in the heat and humidity has been great. The weather in Florida is hot and we are not used to that in Ireland. I hated it when I first went out there, but I am getting used to it now and those are the kind of conditions we play in on the main tour, so it is great preparation for that.

"Now the next step is massive. Moving out of the juniors and making a successful career in the professional ranks is a tough challenge, but my hope and dream is to get back to Wimbledon and play on Centre Court at some stage. If it takes me five years to get there then so be it, but that has to be the aim for any player.

"I certainly feel like I'm close to the top girls in the junior game. My next big event will be the US Open, before I get back to training in Florida and see where I am in a few months or a year from now. Hopefully I make the improvements I need to my game to take it to the next level.

"We don't have many players to look up to in Ireland and it would be amazing if someone could breakthrough."

Drummy is planning to go to college in America later this year and plans to turn professional at some point, with the task she faces as she sets her sights on becoming the first big star of Irish tennis among the most challenging in all sports.

Online Editors

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