The UK’s number one visually-impaired tennis champion, who is from Watford, is staying focussed despite his international debut being delayed by the pandemic.
Ivan Rodriguez-Deb, who is just 15 years old, is the youngest member to ever be selected for Great Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) international squad, after a meteoric rise in the game.
He was set to represent Team GB at this year’s World Blind Tennis Championships in Italy in June, before they were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite this, Ivan has continued to train hard at David Lloyd, Northwood, with the help of Your Advantage Tennis Academy, in preparation for next year’s tournament.
He plays in the highest category available to visually impaired players – the B4 category, despite having only taken up the sport two years ago.
Speaking about the cancelled world championships, Ivan said: “I was really disappointed since I worked so hard all year for the competition, but it was definitely the right decision given the circumstances. My goal is still the same for next year, I’m still training hard for the next time around.”
Just four months after starting his tennis career, Ivan won the LTA Junior Festival and his success in the sport continued last year when he won the senior singles and doubles categories at the LTA National Visually-Impaired Tennis Championships.
Ivan explained: “I spent a lot of my childhood trying to fit into mainstream sports, but it didn’t really work, and finding visually impaired tennis has really enabled me to compete in sports with other people without being at a disadvantage.”
To follow Ivan’s progress, or to message him about sponsorship opportunities, go to his Instagram page: @ivanrdeb (instagram.com/ivanrdeb)