Tavish Pahwa, a 12-year-old Indian tennis prodigy, has brought pride to the country on several occasions by winning tournaments such as the ITF South Asia Regional Qualifying 12 and under Team Championships. Pahwa was also crowned India’s top-ranked player in the Under 12 category as per the All India Tennis Association’s rankings of January 2022.
Most recently, he has represented the country in the Asian Under 14 Grade A category, securing the 17th rank in Asia. With a long list of wins and many more yet to achieve, The Logical Indian strikes up a conversation with Tavish to understand his journey up until now and his career aspirations.
‘Like Water To Fish’
Tavish Pahwa held his first tennis racket at the age of and hasn’t looked back ever since. What began as a silly game grew into a sport in that he represented the country on national and international levels. Having come from a background in sports, with his father and elder sibling invested in the game of tennis, Tavish found the sport to be his natural calling. Moreover, he was fortunate to be a part of a school that actively promoted students’ interest in sports activities.
Ensuring that he did not lose out on these opportunities that lay ahead of him, he dedicatedly trained around the clock from a very young age. He practiced the sport, underwent strength training, and religiously watched matches of Novak Djokovic and other iconic players. However, he did not put his studies on the back burner; the student in him carried along his books to the tournaments as well. Balancing studies and sports continues to be a conflicting point for many young sports players because attending tournaments often means compromising on a good share of school time.
Pahwa stepped into his first-ever tournament at the age of eight and has been bringing home bags of titles and honors. “Sports to me is like water to fish. I was pretty good at every sport that I tried when given an opportunity”, he said when asked about trying his hand at a different sport. However, tennis continues to be the sport he truly looks forward to excelling in and this reflects rightly in his game.
As a young mind who idolized Djokovic, he absorbed his style and technique like a sponge and often played his foot during many tournaments. He understands his limitations as well and says, “The competition gets tougher as one plays in more prestigious tournaments of higher levels. As a 12-year-old, when I’m competing in the U-14 category in Asians, I’m up against the best players who are at least two years older. It requires intense practice and a lot of hard work.”
Throughout it all, his parents have been his biggest support system and have motivated him to do better. Showing equal enthusiasm about Tavish’s sports interests, they did their bit in every possible way to encourage their child to reach the heights he aspires to. From waking him up early in the morning and dropping him to practice sessions, to analyzing and giving feedback on his game, his parents have been present for him and this has supported him immensely to do better.
Carrying A Huge Responsibility
Representing the country at the international level is something that comes along with a huge bag of responsibility and expectations, which is often too heavy for children. Quite contrary to this, Tavish is someone who thoroughly enjoys being able to play the sport and finds genuine excitement in representing the country.
Talking about it, he says, “Of course, you win some, you lose some, and it is all a part of the sport. My mother says I never took much interest in regular toys that other kids my age did. I always preferred to play with a bat, a football or a racquet. After a while, everyone in my family understood that and they would only get me sports-related toys.” So, holding a racquet gave him joy rather than pressure, and he held on regardless of the change in the venue over the years.
Today, he dreams of being Number 1 in the game and representing the country on bigger platforms. He has had to compromise on his school and social life altogether, but he tries to make it to his school and meet his friends at every given chance when he is in town. His school has also been understanding of the responsibility that has been tagged upon him, and hence, helps him through online classes and customized assessments.
Fortunate about the support he has received over the years, he says this is not the case for every sportsperson in the country though. He strongly believes that there is no dearth of talent in India, but what holds the country back is the lack of world-class training facilities and infrastructure. The country could truly achieve more if they set their mind to taking away these inhibiting factors and promoting the journey of their sports person. As a young sportsperson who is trying to make it to the top, he wishes to see this minor change in the system that would benefit millions of people like him to enter the sports arena.