Kaitlyn Ramduth calls herself a young girl from KZN who is pursuing her dream. As a rising star in South African tennis she is far more and has her eyes firmly set on conquering the biggest courts in the world.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King said that champions play until they get it right. At the young age of 14, Kaitlyn Ramduth is already an accomplished tennis champion and carries the South African flag around the world. She is well aware too, of what it will takes, on and off the court, to achieve her aspirations.
If there was one thing you would want everyone to know about Kaitlyn Ramduth what would it be?
Kaitlyn Ramduth is just a young girl from KwaZulu-Natal who made a choice to pursue her dreams and gets up every day focused on building her future while enjoying her present, living life to the fullest because success is not about winning; it is about never giving up!
What does it mean for you and how does it feel to be recognized by gsport in this manner?
To be nominated is definitely an honour. I have worked really hard to get to this point and I will definitely continue regardless of nominations and awards. But I am so proud that I can make a difference as a young lady in being an example to other aspiring sportswomen of how hard work and commitment pays off. I am super excited and thankful to gsport4girls and Momentum for giving me the amazing opportunity to be on this platform.
To pursue your passion as fervently as you have is a clear indication that you are extremely dedicated and enthusiastic. How did you fall in love with Tennis?
As children my mum exposed us to many kinds of extracurricular activities and this is how I discovered a natural affinity for tennis and fell madly in love with the game. It was at the age of 6, when I watched a match between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Both women were playing with their heart and soul and giving it their absolute everything! It was this that ignited a fire and a passion in me. I was determined to one day play with the same dedication and fight. So, [ever since] I picked up a racket for the first time I have loved every moment of being on the court and I have never looked back.
Tennis is very much about physicality but equally important is mental strength. What is your method to improving your mental approach to Tennis?
I believe that focus is vital in everything we pursue in life. When I approach a match, I apply the principle of technique and passion but I remain mentally focused in how I apply it.
I know I cannot become emotional on the court as this can cost me the entire game. Instead, I put all my efforts into giving my best every time I am on the court while enjoying every moment of the challenge.
Role models can have an significant effect. Is there anyone whom you admire to the point of being inspired by them?
My mum is definitely one of my role models. I have watched her fight tirelessly to always give us every opportunity that she could. I am inspired by her strength, courage and tenacity to do what is needed. She pushes me to excel and never allows me to give up and is always my biggest supporter. Even on difficult days she reminds me “success is not just about winning it is about living your dream”.
It is sometimes said that tennis can be a lonely sport which, perhaps, makes your support system all the more important. Who do you rely on and how important is it to you to know that you have backing and the care of those people?
Tennis is a great source of satisfaction and fulfillment. It is more than just a sport to me. I am blessed because my mum and siblings are my greatest supporters and biggest fans. My older brother is always willing to fill in should I need an opponent to practice against and my mum and younger sister are always on the benches cheering us on or giving advice and criticism to help me sharpen my skill. It is actually part of our daily lifestyle and their involvement is actually a driving force to me.
Naturally, we hope that your career continues on its upward trajectory. Yet, as in most sports careers there will be difficult moments. Do you have any special techniques or routines to overcome the difficult moments either on the court or off?
I believe in my God given gift and I realize that not everybody has the opportunities. I keep my daily routine intact even when I am not having a good day. Practice and training consistently is key no matter what. I am grateful that I am able to pursue my dreams and God willing, I will be able help others to do the same.
It is clear from your achievements that you have had many special moments on the court. Are there any that stand out as particularly special?
Last year at the age of thirteen I became the youngest winner of the KwaZulu Natal Women’s Closed Tennis Championships, where I triumphed over someone who was 3 years my senior. This was a definite highlight in my career, because it was the first of many Women’s Open and Under 18 Titles that I have achieved.
Based on your Instagram feed it is unmistakable that you have a great love for the game. How would describe tennis?
Tennis for me is freedom. On the court I am able to express myself, to exhibit my love for a challenging but super friendly sport where I meet people from all over SA and even internationally. Tennis has allowed me to make friends that share my interests and passion, people who support me without prejudice.
I have seen a whole new side of life because of Tennis and I believe that it has shaped me to be a more focused, committed and self-confident young lady instead of becoming a statistic from a previously disadvantaged community.
It’s quite clear that you have a long and very successful career ahead of you. What is the next step, the next goal that you want to achieve?
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. There was a lot planned that was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions so there were milestones in our year that were missed, still I am determined to keep focused. The next goal for me would be to start playing in the ITF Tournaments, winning titles here would mean gaining points toward your world ranking, and it is my goal to achieve as much as I can once I step onto that junior pro circuit. I believe that every step in the ladder to success is vital to reaching the top successfully.
Roger Federer has said that he does not play for the record books. What is it that drives you to get up every day, go to practice and make the sacrifices that are demanded of you?
I would say what drives me is definitely my love for the sport. Even on the days when I am not well, or the weather seems gloomy, I am always still determined to get out there and get in a good practice. I always remind myself that the reward does not come without the hard work.
Tennis is a well-loved sport but does not always enjoy the same corporate backing and support as other ball sports in South Africa. How has this impacted your ability to participate at the highest level possible?
The lack of corporate involvement and backing has been a constant stumbling block. Obviously without sponsors and funding it is virtually impossible for many to travel to different events if their personal finances do not allow for it. I have been blessed to be backed by Wilson for the last few years however we have had to apply to Federations, Sporting Clubs and businesses for sponsorship to attend and participate in certain events as it was vital for my ranking and seeding as well as to maintain my skill level on the court. I hope that this will change in the future with the involvement of institutions and organizations such as gsport4girls and Momentum.
Earlier this year you were part of the Match in Africa. What was the experience like and what did it mean to you be in that moment?
Being selected from thousands of other hopefuls was definitely a highlight, not only in my career but also in my life personally. I was honored to be a part of that life changing experience. Meeting and being coached by the top achievers in Tennis and Business as well as personal interaction with them was so exciting and I learnt a lot about humility and the importance of giving back to the people that love and support you in your journey.
Photo 1 Caption: Kaitlyn Ramduth calls herself a young girl from KZN who is pursuing her dream. As a rising star in South African tennis she is far more and has her eyes firmly set on conquering the biggest courts in the world. Photo: Supplied