***Melika Leblanc is the #1 u18 girls player from New Brunswick. ONcourt interviewed Melika one year ago about her training situation in Moncton and her future tennis goals. One year later, ONcourt catches up with Melika on her progress towards achieving her tennis aspirations.***
ONcourt: Hi Melika, the last time you were interviewed you were living in your hometown Moncton, New Brunswick and you were just finishing up playing at the u16 Nationals in Montreal. At that time you were playing 0-2.5 hours of tennis per week. When asked what your aspirations were you said, “to get a scholarship to a US University.” So, tell me, what have you been up to since?
Melike Leblanc: Well, lots has changed. Yes, I was hardly playing at all back home because we don’t have indoor courts. I knew that if I wanted to achieve my goal of getting a scholarship that I’d have to make a change. So, I decided to move to Burlington to train at ACE Tennis in early February 2013.
ONcourt: So that is a big change.
ML: Absolutely. I now train over 20 hours including five to six hours of fitness per week.
ONcourt: How did you find the adjustment from going from such a little amount of training to so much?
ML: It went well, except for the blisters that I developed! I was just training in the afternoons for a while and the coaches would keep an eye on me to make sure that I didn’t overdo it. Now, I’m really integrating into the full training schedule. I’m about to get going with tournaments now too. It is great to have so many events here to play. Back home there is next to nothing, so it’s tough to learn how to compete.
ONcourt: What tournaments are coming up?
ML: This weekend I’m playing in the u18 *** at ACE and then I’ll be representing my home province of New Brunswick at the u18 Nationals in Mississauga.
ONcourt: That’s great. So, have you seen any changes in your game since you’ve been training in Burlington?
ML: Oh yes. My consistency especially. In all areas of my game. My serve is getting better too and if I continue to work on my serve I can see how it will really get a lot better.
ONcourt: What would you say is important to the coaches and is emphasized at ACE?
ML: You’re here to work and focus on getting better, never to make the same mistake twice and to be organized and disciplined.
ONcourt: So, do you think that those things will help you to get your scholarship and to do well when you go?
ML: Of course.
ONcourt: Have you heard about what’s going on in Fredericton, New Brunswick with the new indoor club opening?
ML: Not too much. The problem is most of the people that I know are in Moncton and it is over two hours away. Players are going over there as much as they can to play, but it’s difficult to make the trip as often as they would like.
ONcourt: I bet the Moncton players were happy for the people in Fredericton for the indoor facility, but were wishing that it was them who were getting it?
ML: Yes, that’s right. There are probably more good level juniors in Moncton than Fredericton, but the adults in Fredericton made it happen over there to get the facility up and running. It’s great that they have it.
ONcourt: Thanks for catching up with us again Melika. All the best in your upcoming tournament and your training.
ML: Thank you.