Following a fantastic Winter Season we wanted to ask Max Richardson (aged 9) about his tennis journey, his tennis routine, what he enjoys most about tennis and much more!
Q&A with Max Richardson
How old were you when you started playing tennis?
I first started playing tennis at the age of two at Elly Shearman’s toddler sessions, but it wasn’t until individual lessons with Elly during the first lockdown, at the age of seven, that I took tennis to another level.
How many hours a week do you play tennis?
At the moment I play four hours of squads a week, including 40 minutes strength & conditioning, 2-3 hours of individual or hitting sessions and 2-4 hours of matches/tournaments. On my days off court, I often run with my older brother or practice yoga for flexibility, balance and relaxation of the mind.
What do you enjoy the most about training?
I enjoy squads as it allows me to train with other players who have different strengths and playing styles. In my individual lessons I like to ask questions on how to improve my tennis and focus on specific shots. It’s always great to watch old videos of myself play tennis and seeing how much I’ve improved.
What is your favourite part of playing tennis?
I really enjoy hitting tennis balls, it’s very relaxing especially after a busy day at school.
When did you start playing matches?
I started playing for Kings in the U8 and U9 Avon Tennis League at the age of 7. My first tournament was a tough U9 Grade 3 in Cambridge. I didn’t do too well, but I learnt lots and with a little bit of encouragement I competed in the Avon County Closed Cup and finished 2nd in the U8. For the next several months, I trained hard and entered tournaments both locally and slightly further away. I eventually won a U9 Regional Grade 3 tournament and was awarded a wild card at a National Grade 2. It was an amazing experience – I exceeded all my expectations and reached the semi-finals!
And what do you enjoy most about matches?
I like putting everything I learnt into matches, trying to work out how to win the point and planning my next shots.
How have you found the winter season?
I generally play tennis whatever the weather. If the courts are too wet or icy, I hit a soft ball against our house extension wall or continue off court training.
Who inspires you most in tennis?
Elly Shearman – she always encourages us to be the best that we can be and to stay positive.
Carlos Alcarez – he’s just amazing to watch and a future G.O.A.T!
What is your best tennis memory?
Recently, I had the privilege of representing Avon County in the U9 group which was totally amazing and fun being part of a super talented team!
Do you think you will play tennis forever?
Yes. During one of the lockdowns there were three generations of my family playing tennis at Kings – my grandpa, my dad and me – it was brilliant and everyone was having so much fun! I hope that one day I’ll be able to play tennis with my children and grandchildren too!
Would you recommend playing tennis to your friends and if so, why?
Yes. I’ve made so many good friends at Kings Tennis Club, county, regional at Team Bath and now nationally. Not only is tennis a fun sport that keeps you fit, it also teaches many life skills like performing under pressure, and dealing with ups and downs.
5 Fun Facts about Max
- I play the piano and violin
- I can solve a Rubik cube in under a minute
- My favourite school subjects are art and maths
- Longest tennis rally is 318
- I listen to Piano Guy’s Beethoven’s 5 Secrets after every match/tournament