At 21, most youngsters have no clue as to what vocation they want to pursue. The variety of academic brochures stacked up in their drawers is testament to this confusion. Rising tennis ace Kyra Shroff is a definite exception to that list. The young Mumbaikar, who spends most of her time training in Bangalore, has dared to chase her dreams with the support of her parents. She has taken up sport as a profession. Not to say that she will not pursue further studies later in life, but right now she is ‘playing tennis professionally’.
“Sport as a profession is a great option. Firstly because it’s something I love to do. People have big jobs but are not happy with their work. When you chose sports its only because you love it,” Kyra told Mirror. “It’s an even growing option for woman now. You can’t discriminate between men and woman now. Sania in tennis and Saina in badminton have done great things in sport and have revolutionised it for women,” she added.
Kyra will interact with IIT students at Powai today, where she will flag off Mood Indigo’s 4k ‘Night Run’. She understands the consequences of her decision and the sacrifices it demands. “It was really hard in school. I would appear only in the finals once a year. It was possible only thanks to the support of my principal at St Anne’s School (Fort),” said Kyra, who later completed her 12th grade exams via Open University.
“While growing up I did not go out late or eat out. It didn’t seem like much of a sacrifice. I train in Bangalore but my family and friends are in Mumbai. So that was the real sacrifice staying away from them. When I was a junior player I’d sometimes come home only three to four weeks in the year,” said Kyra.
She trains in Bangalore with coach S Prahlad. And without her parents’ backing none of this would have been possible. “My family has been very supportive. What my parents have done for me, not many parents would do for their children,” said Kyra, who has been playing since she was six and ahalf years old. Her dad Firdaus, a businessman, has played county cricket and also loves tennis. Mom Gulshan is ateacher and was also an athlete in her youth. The couple does not hold back in coaxing their kids to pursue their sporting ambitions. No wonder, younger brother Porus, 17, is pursuing afootball scholarship in new York.
“Dad used to come for every single game when I was a junior. Even now he attends all my Mumbai games,” said Kyra.
The Leyton Hewitt fan is hopeful that her hard work and sacrifices will help her become the next Sania Mirza. “People don’t understand what Sania has achieved. She was the World No 27 at one point of time and has won at grand slams. I would be more than happy to achieve what she has done.”
Currently, Kyra is nursing a few injuries and will be out of the game till March at least. “2013 was a difficult year for me. I was injured throughout and managed to play only four or five tournaments. But it’s a learning curve. I started the year injured and then when I returned I twisted my ankle and was injured again. I’m recovering right now. My goal is to get fit by March. And I know if I can stay fit, big things can happen.”