***17-year-old Elisabeth Abanda is one of two sisters who have dominated the Canadian tennis landscape for the last few years. Elisabeth has won the U 18 national crown in singles and doubles, the Orange Bowl U 16 as well as the Waterloo Challenger in doubles. She recently signed with the University of Miami, one of the top NCAA women’s tennis team. Her younger sister, Francoise, is regarded as Canada’s top junior prospect.***
ONcourt: You have been at the National Center in Montreal since its start, how has the experience been?
Elisabeth Abanda: To be honest, it has been up and down, I have learnt a lot, I got to travel to great tournaments, met a lot of interesting people [tennis players], saw new ways of training but by far the best opportunity is the opportunity of competition and training with other good players. It also provided a reality check.
ONcourt: Are you happy or not with your results?
Elisabeth Abanda: In Canada I have played well, won the Canadian Junior Nationals but I am not satisfied with my international performances.
ONcourt: Have you finished high school?
Elisabeth Abanda: Yes I graduated with an 85% average in June and passed my SAT.
ONcourt: So University is an option?
Elisabeth Abanda: Yes, and I have already signed with the University of Miami where I will start school in September.
ONcourt: Your sister, Francoise, is the best prospect in Canada after winning the Under 14 Orange Bowl, what is your advice to her?
Elisabeth Abanda: To push harder now so that she does not have any regrets later on and that she takes advantage of all her opportunities.
ONcourt: Who were the most influential people in your career?
Elisabeth Abanda: Well, well, well… My mother, although a single mom, always made sure I had every opportunity possible. Jean Claude Lemire helped us through our career, coaching us for almost nothing , taking us to tournaments and simply being there for us.