Life has come full circle – from being competitors before, to guiding junior athletes to a successful career!
It is every tennis player’s dream to get to play with the Top 4 (Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) in the world of tennis. I was lucky enough to play with 3 of them during my tennis career. As a 13-year-old boy representing the Indian tricolor flag at the World Junior Finals in Czech Republic, I got the opportunity to play against Rafael Nadal, who even back then was a known name in the circuit and touted as the player to watch out for in the coming years. The next time, I was set to play against Andy Murray at the Junior US Open 2004 where he went on to win the Junior grand slam. And finally the third chance, which for me was the biggest moment of my life on the tennis court, was when I got to be on the same side of the court as Roger Federer, the greatest of all time.
It all started when I was 10 years old, gazing at the tennis courts on my way to rollerblading class. What started out as a hobby became an integral part of my life. Putting in those long hours on the tennis court and getting to compete at the highest level gave me an adrenaline rush. Coming from a family with no tennis background, initially it was hard for me to know the ins and outs of a tennis player’s life, but my parents and coaches guided me through my junior tennis days
Having started to play tennis as a leisure sport, to compete on the lush green grass courts at Wimbledon, I have been fortunate to experience the journey of a tennis player growing up in Asia. Going to grad school at New York University and getting to work with the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and John McEnroe Tennis Academies, I truly had the opportunity of seeing it all – both from the player’s perspective and the management side as well. A natural segue for me was to share my firsthand experience in guiding families and tennis players in Asia about tennis and studying in the U.S. I stumbled upon AddedSport, a firm that guides and mentors junior athletes in Asia to create successful pathways for them by feeding into U.S. colleges. I met Akshay, the founder, through a close friend of mine, and he elaborated to me his vision of building a firm to help create better pathways for student athletes in Asia. For a junior athlete in India, the biggest challenge you face is the lack of guidance and mentorship. There is no proper structure or guidance for a junior athlete growing up in India. Here was an opportunity staring at me to give it back to the sport. With the challenges I faced as a junior athlete growing up, I could now use my experience and newfound knowledge for families who have just started on this journey. AddedSport India first started out in a coffee shop, where we helped our first tennis client from India, and now we are helping 150+ students every year.
What started out as me going out to tournaments to scout talent and guide families, has now evolved into building and guiding a team of counselors who can further touch the lives of many more athletes. From signing up my first client and successfully getting them into college, to training a team of counselors, AddedSport has helped me to grow personally. As the company evolved all these years, where the value of relationships with colleagues, clients and business partners have become the lifeline for the growth of the company, my proud moments now come not when I am signing up a new client, but when I see young Tushar’s grow in our company and guide many more families to plan for their best future. As AddedSport grows to a leading Sports and Education firm in Asia, we have the opportunity to work with academies like the Rafael Nadal Academy, as well as the John McEnroe academies. The world has come full circle, we were competitors before; but now, we are on the same path to guide many junior athletes to a successful career.
Tushar Liberhan Consultant Head