In this week’s StarGazer Interview:
Tenille Swartz, South Africa
STARGAZER : Just heard the good news that you will be getting married soon. Congratulations to you and the lucky guy! How are your preparations especially while training and playing tournaments at the same time?
TENILLE :I must say it has been the most exciting year ever, returning back to full time squash and planning my wedding. The wedding plans are running smoothly and I enjoyed planning while I was away on tour as I had quite a bit of time to plan while in foreign countries… that’s when I get my best ideas.
STARGAZER : How did you first get into squash?
TENILLE :I grew up in a really small town and my whole family played squash. I started playing squash in my parents garage; my mom had to re-paint the garage regularly.
STARGAZER : How is training back in South Africa?
TENILLE :I am actually based in Cape Town. I have a really good set up at the moment. I am part of a professional training group on the days that I’m not with my coach. I have a good support structure and am enjoying the training in Cape Town—definitely the best I’ve done thus far.
STARGAZER : How is the squash scene in South Africa at the moment?
TENILLE :The men have actually started a tour called South African Squash Professionals Association (SASPA). They are promoting squash quite well with their tournaments throughout the country and it is something that we, the women, can look forward to. The social squash is quite good, but I would definitely love to see a WISPA event in Cape Town soon—to promote international squash.
STARGAZER : Where’s your favourite tournament?
TENILLE :Definitely Sharm! Only been here 3 days but by far the best!!!
STARGAZER : There was mention that South Africa might not be sending a squash team to the Commonwealth Games this year. What is the reason behind this decision and what are your thoughts on ways to ensure that the squash team is able to compete in the 2014 edition of the Games?
TENILLE :Yes we are definitely not going to Delhi. It’s sad because our federation in South Africa only sends teams and athletes that can win medals, and I obviously believe that it is wrong because we need to be given the opportunities to improve and compete so that we will be able to earn medals in the future or give young players hopes and dreams to pursue. Together with Squash South Africa, we will definitely put up a big fight for the next one!
STARGAZER : What’s the next destination that you’ve always dreamt of going?
TENILLE :South America… never been there, so it should be interesting.
STARGAZER : Summer is just around the corner for you. Are there any traditional summer celebrations in your country?
TENILLE :Summer time in South Africa is always great fun! When I think about the summer holidays, I think beach, swimming, fun times with family… and of course our local BRAAI (barbeque).
STARGAZER : What makes you most happy?
TENILLE : I am most happy when I can help others and when I see other people pursue their dreams. I believe one should live to give… that’s when I am most happy—in church, with my fiancee (soon to be husband), my friends and of course playing squash and pursuing my goals.
STARGAZER : What is the best thing you like about squash?
TENILLE :I love the adventure… I believe it’s an amazing journey. I love the competitiveness, the people I meet and the wonderful places I get to visit. What a blessing that I am able to do this in this season of my life.