Cool, calm and collected both on and off the court, grade 11 Queen Elizabeth Secondary student Tracy Dong is swinging her way to a promising tennis career. Not only has she gained a lot of attention nationally, Dong is also internationally known having had success at big tournaments in the Middle East and Asia. Despite the success and attention, Dong remains grounded and has her priorities in check, with schoolwork being at the top of the list. Focused, talented and dedicated to her sport, the future certainly looks bright for Dong. Youthink caught up with the highly skilled tennis player to talk about her love for the sport, her biggest accomplishments and the challenges she has faced in her young tennis career.
YT: Which teams do you play for?
TD: I play for Team B.C. at the National Championships and once I played for Team Canada. There are not really any local teams or high-school teams in Surrey.
YT: What are you currently ranked?
TD: Nationally, in my age category I am No. 7. I believe that was my highest and internationally my highest ranking was No. 427.
YT: Why tennis and what do you love about it?
TD: I chose tennis because my dad introduced me to it and he was the one who taught me how to play and got me going with the sport. I enjoy tennis because it’s an independent sport. When you win something, it’s all because of you. That really builds your self-esteem because you know you did all the work. It’s challenging, but really rewarding.
YT: What skills have you developed as a result of tennis?
TD: Definitely independence. Travelling on my own to tournaments really builds up my self-confidence and makes me a more independent person.
YT: What are your biggest achievements so far?
TD: I won the won National Championships when I was 12 and I got to the finals when I was 14. I won a few doubles titles in the International Tennis Federation tournaments (ITF) – one in Doha and one in Vancouver, also reaching the semi-finals of the ITF singles tournament here and in Brunei. But overall, the biggest accomplishment was reaching No. 427 in the world. [Reaching] top 500 in the world and has always been a big dream for me.
YT: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
TD: Injuries. When I was 12 or 13, I went through a growth spurt and I had five or six injuries in a row. It was hard to keep training and improving.
YT: What are your plans after high school?
TD: I plan to get a full scholarship at a really good school, possibly in California or in New York… or a university around there. And possibly start playing some professional tournaments in university.
YT: Who has helped you the most through your tennis career?
TD: My dad because he was one who taught me how to play, the one who got me into training programs and started paying for my lessons, tournaments and travelling. He was the one who motivated me, inspired me to keep going and taught me all the lessons of life.