At the tender age of eleven, Mahinarangi Tuala Warren is on a mission.
Known to many as Mahina, the 11-year-old Vaiala Beach School student is a two-time champion of the girls Under 12 Pacific Oceania Junior.
Mahina, daughter of New Zealand based lawyer, Aidan Warren and Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren, dreams of making the top 100 tennis players in the world.
The key for now is that she is enjoying her sport.
“I really enjoy it, I’ve been playing it since I was five,” she said.
“It’s a challenging game, where discipline on the court is vital; you are chasing the ball and one must be focused and keeping the eye on the ball so I don’t lose it.”
She shared with the Samoa Observer that her siblings share the love for tennis.
“My older and younger brothers both play tennis. Mom plays but just a little,” she said giggling.
Mahina has played many tournaments in Fiji, New Zealand and she’ll be travelling to New Caledonia to play in the girls U-12 tournaments, a competition she has won two years in a row.
Every athlete has an idol. For Mahina, it’s her coach, Steffi Fa’aasusivaitele Heatherington Carruthers, the first Samoan woman to play professional tennis and the first Pacific Oceania player to win a professional tournament.
“My coach also managed to win two International Tennis Federation titles in doubles… she’s my idol,” said Mahina.
Although she’s 11, this tennis player is not wasting time and is already working towards he goal.
“I know it’s a long shot and I have the advantage of time to make my way up there,” she told the Samoa Observer.
Another challenge in life for Mahina is juggling school work with tennis practices.
“It’s always tennis after school five days a week and I practice six days in a row. My schedule daily is, after school I go home eat lunch and then off to practice; and afterwards I do my homework.
“It’s tiring but that is the sacrifice you make if you want to be the best and also because I have goals I want to meet.”
The young tennis player is thankful to her father for sacrificing work and many other obligations to attend her tournaments, no matter where it is held.
“Due to his career, my dad works off island, and no matter where my tournaments are held; he never misses a game and my achievements so far I dedicate to my hard working dad,” said Mahina.
“Also to my mom. She is my number one supporter who goes out of her busy schedule to ensure I attend practice every day and that I’m always on top of my school work.”