Q&A: Tennis star Ellie Scarff

Rydal Penrhos alumni discusses her school days and career so far

Former Rydal Penrhos pupil and tennis star, Ellie Scarff, recently returned to Rydal Penrhos to give a special masterclass to young pupils as well as a special question and answer session.

How was the recent session at Rydal Penrhos?

I felt the session went smoothly and the children seemed to be engaged for the duration of the lesson. The Q&A section was interesting and gave me an insight into how the children perceived the life of a full time tennis player.

How has your first season been at the Patrick Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in the South of France?

It was challenging leaving home and moving to a foreign country at the age of 16, however I feel as though I have grown more independent and matured greatly. Over the last nine months there has been many highs and lows, but over all I feel I have benefited from the whole experience and learnt a great deal.

How do you feel your game has progressed in that time?

I have had the opportunity to train with and play against many foreign players. Travelling and competing in international tournaments has been another great opportunity to progress with my tennis. The main areas of improvement have been my serve and backhand, thanks to the volume training available at the academy.

What are your highlights from the year from a personal perspective?

My main highlights of this season include progressing through eight rounds to reach the semi-final, losing to a player ranked top 200 WTA, of my first French Women’s tournament held at the academy during October 2015. Secondly, competing in 18u International tournament held in Egypt, where I reached the quarter-finals of the singles and final of the doubles, therefore achieving a junior world ranking. I also had the honour of meeting Novak Djokovic during a training at the academy.

What are your plans for the summer?

I have a series of 18u and Open Nationals tournaments throughout the summer alongside my usual tennis and fitness program. As well as learning to drive!

What are your ambitions for the coming year and the future?

My ambitions for the coming year firstly is to improve physically and mentally within match play. Secondly to improve both my British and junior world rankings. Lastly to achieve a WTA ranking through competing on the international pro circuit.

How did your time at Rydal Penrhos help you as an athlete and person?

My time at Rydal Penrhos has rounded me both academically and sportingly, enabling me to meet the challenges ahead in my chosen career.

What has been the main thing you have taken away from the academy this year?

The most important thing has have taken away from this first year, is the importance of remaining fit and healthy insuring minimum injuries.

How happy were you to win the Conwy Young Sports Woman of the Year again?

It was a great surprise and honour to win the award a second year running.