Philip Bester InterviewBy: Simon
Philip Bester is one of the top junior tennis players in the world. The 17 year-old reached the Finals of the 2006 French Open in Boys Singles and has just begun playing in professional tournaments. Find out what he had to say about playing in the French Open and going to school with Maria Sharapova.
Simon: Hi Philip. Congratulations on your success at the French Open. What was it like playing in the Finals?
Philip Bester: It was really great and a good chance to test myself in a big tournament. The French Open was a big success for me, especially on a surface I didn't think I'd be able to play on and succeed. I was able to knock off the number one junior player in the world and to be able to make it to the Finals was really, really great.
Simon: There aren't a lot of Canadians that do very well in tennis. Shouldn't you be playing hockey?
Philip Bester: Well, hockey is the main sport in Canada but my motivation is to hopefully become a role model for young kids from Canada to play tennis in the future. That's what my motivation is and hopefully I can become a role model for young kids in the future. I hope to convince some young Canadians to pick up a tennis racquet instead of a hockey stick.
Simon: What tennis player did you look up to when you started playing?
Philip Bester: I really grew up idolizing Pete Sampras and I've looked up to him my whole life.
Simon: You left home when you were 12 to train at a flashy tennis academy in Florida. How were you able to play tennis and go to school at the same time?
Philip Bester: I started at the Bollettieri camp when I was 12. I was able to get a scholarship at the school on site to attend school in between practices and for grade 11 and 12, I was traveling so much and playing so much, I took an online course and graduated doing my school online. So when I travelled, I would just log on and do my classes.
Simon: Didn't Maria Sharapova go to the same tennis school as you?
Philip Bester: Yeah, we were at school together. I've known her since I was 14.
Simon: So, did you ever ask her out on a date?
Philip Bester: No, we were just friends... I don't want to see any rumors get started.
Simon: Any advice you'd give to kids looking to become pro tennis players?
Philip Bester: I really feel that kids need to go out and have fun and enjoy playing tennis. Just as long as they're having fun and enjoying what they're doing and not being pushed into it, that's the most important thing.