“Until now Nepal has never had a pro-level program for tennis, it was up to the parents and children to take it further,” says Morales. “The pandemic has been a blessing in disguise, it has given us an opportunity to develop professional program at home.”
Morales himself has been stranded in Nepal since the first nationwide lockdown was imposed on 24 March and has since used the time to first train the players virtually via zoom and by posting YouTube tutorials on backhand and forehand strokes from his rooftop in Satdobato. He restarted physical training after the lockdown and restrictions were lifted.
Morales was originally invited for a few weeks back in March to train Nepali tennis players preparing for the forthcoming regional championships and the Olympics. He was supposed to travel to Spain and Italy before flying home to Chicago.
But he chose to stay back instead of taking a repatriation flight because of the risks involved while the pandemic was raging in Spain and the United States, while Nepal was still relatively safe. He would have multiple layovers on the way home to Chicago.
This has worked in the favour of Nepali players who have had a coach working on both the physical and mental side of their game for the past nine months. And the hard work has paid off, both boys and girls performed exceptionally in Pakistan last week and the team can only get better from here with the right platform, equipment and relentless training.
Love at first strike, Sraddha Basnyat