Nathaniel Aluko: Acing His Way To Stardom With Powerful Serves
For a 13-year-old teenager, Nathaniel Aluko is quite some smart chap. His thought pattern and level of understanding are not things you always come by.
But one should not be surprised about a player who playing tennis as early as three. Yeah, he started playing tennis about a decade ago.
Anyone who has watched Nath play knows that this guy is a very talented and serious tennis player. He has mastered one of the fundamentals of tennis, the serve.
Man, this Lagos Country Club boy has a big serve and he owns it against any of his opponents, regardless of their stature, class or ability.
Good thing is that he knows how well he serves, and the Coach Moses Paul-tutored youngster surely derives pleasure in that ability and knowledge.
When Nigeria Tennis Live correspondent caught up with him on the sidelines of the ongoing UTR Tennis Championship at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos, he would not stop smiling as he takes us into his world.
“My big serve means more points for me on the court,” lanky Nath told our correspondent who seemed to be distracting the young man from seeing a live tennis match on tv.
While noting that he is currently on 7 UTR points, he confirmed that he finds the tournament tougher than other age grade tournaments.
“I just enjoy playing tennis, that’s why I keep playing. And I believe this UTR is a tougher competition for me although this is my first time in the U-14 category.
“I’ve been playing the U-12 before I switched to U-14 this year because I am now 13 years old,” he explained.
With his minimum of three-five aces per game, one would have expected that Nathaniel would be really ambitious about his tennis, but his response to what his dreams are, were quite amazing, to say the least.
“I like Jannik Sinner for his ball striking. Me, my aim is just to make money with this tennis, that’s all,” he said with a wide smile on his face.
For someone who simply wants to make money via tennis, the one thing he detests about the game of tennis may actually delay him from making the money.
With an expression that shows his displeasure, he said: “I hate that there is no time frame for a match. You can play for seven hours non-stop, and there has to be a winner no matter what.
“My longest match the one I can remember, was about three hours. Even in football, it’s not that long. They have specific time for each match, unlike tennis where you can play for five-six hours.”
For someone who is not so familiar with many Nigerian players, Nathaniel is mostly impressed by Daniel Adeleye, his co-club member at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja.
“I like the way he plays for his ball striking ability. We are in the same club, so I see the way he plays, and I like it,” the SS1 student offered.
His dad, calm and reserved Mr. Segun Aluko, is the president of the Tennis Parents Players Association (TPPA), and could not help but smile when he was told that his 13-year-old son just wants to make money from playing tennis.
“That is exactly what will tell you that he’s a kid. Because, what does he need the money for?” Mr. Aluko asked, with another smile on his face.
As one who started the journey of tennis with the youngster, it is safe to say that watching him grow for the past ten years has been a delight to the dad.
Nathaniel, Nigeria Tennis Live gathered, was just playing during weekends for the first three-four years, but he soon picked up and started improving his tempo after a while.
“He has improved significantly since he started and has won about four UTR tournaments already,” the school proprietor noted quite frankly.
Our correspondent asked the dad what qualities would likely endear Nathaniel to him if he were a total stranger to him.
And he said: “His creativity. His attacking prowess. He doesn’t defend. He always goes all out and I really love that about him.”
Ultimately, every parent’s desire is to see their children excel in their chosen field and Mr. Aluko is not an exception.
“He intends to study software engineering and my joy would be to see him study in the University and be an outstanding tennis player in college,” the dad noted.
It looks like Nigerians will be preparing for another superstar when Nathaniel finally hits top gear with tennis. If he lands on college early, and graduates early too, the name Aluko will surely start sounding on every Nigerian’s lips.
Watch out for Nathaniel Aluko in the coming years!