During the summer of her seventh-grade year, Sharon Danquah and her father, William, were watching tennis on television. Both enjoyed watching the sport, even though neither played.
William, who moved to the United States from Ghana just a few years before Sharon was born, would tell his daughter of players he admired – like Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. All the while, Sharon preferred to hear about today’s stars – like Caroline Wozniacki, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Then, one day, during that summer, while the two watched, Sharon told her dad she wanted to seriously play the game.
“’She said, ‘Daddy, I want to be a tennis professional,” William recalls in his thick accent. “I said, ‘Ah, it is very hard.’
“So I went to Wal-Mart. I bought two racquets, one for her and one for me. That was the first time we touched a racquet.”
William, who had played badminton and ping pong as hobbies in Africa, taught his daughter how to hold the racquet.
“We basically learned from watching,” said Sharon, who is now a freshman at Lakota West. “Me and my dad first started together and then he got much better than me because he was watching longer than me.”
William learned so much from watching television that he became Sharon’s coach, a title he held for a year and a half before recently hiring her a personal coach.
The father-daughter duo would play two, sometimes three times a day, usually practicing for an hour or two every morning and every evening. (more…)
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