September 20th, 2017

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! Meet Daniel Labrador!

General News Diversity Youth Tennis News

Meet 15-year-old Daniel Labrador who shares how tennis has played an important role in his life.

Question:  Where are you from? 

Answer:  I was born and raised in Tampa. Both of my parents were born in Venezuela and part of my dad’s side of the family comes from Spain.

Question:  How long have you been playing tennis and how did you get started?

Answer:  I have been playing tennis since I was 5 years old and I started playing tournaments when I was 8. I started playing tennis because I saw some kids doing a clinic in my neighborhood and I decided to give it a try and I really enjoyed it. I was playing tennis, baseball, soccer and swimming all at the same time, so I had to chose one sport and I chose tennis.

Question:  Where do you play?

Answer:  I have practiced tennis most of my life in Tampa, but recently I have been training in Delray Beach with a private coach. I have been playing tournaments all around Florida and the country. For example, I have traveled to California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Arizona to play tournaments. I also had the opportunity to play two tournaments in Spain this summer. Playing on red clay was an amazing experience.

Question:  Why did you choose tennis and what do you like the most about this sport?

Answer:  I chose to play tennis because I simply loved the sport and because everything was based on me. For example, in baseball, I had to wait long periods of time before I got to bat, catch, or make any type of play. In tennis, I was playing every single point. If I won or lost, it was based on my effort and my decisions. This is also what I like most about the sport. It is very tough to play because you are by yourself, but that is also the beauty of the sport.

Question:  What has been your best accomplishment as a tennis player?

Answer:  I would say that my best accomplishment as a tennis player wouldn’t really be a result from a tournament or anything like that. I would consider my best accomplishment being the way tennis has shaped me into the person I am today. Tennis has shaped me into the person I am today in many aspects. It has taught me discipline, responsibility, how to become stronger mentally and physically, integrity and much more. All of these characteristics are things I take pride in about myself and they came from years of tennis.

Question:  What are your main goals in tennis?

Answer:  My main goal in tennis is to become a professional and play on the tour. A bit of a more short-term goal would be to play college tennis in a Division I university. These are both goals that require a lot of work and dedication, but that is what separates the good from the great.

Question:  Why do you think is good for children and their families to play tennis?

Answer:  I think that it is great for families to play tennis. Tennis is a sport that can be played by people of all ages and is a great way to go out and exercise and have some fun.

Question:  What message do you have for other Hispanic families who are looking for a sport for their kids?

Answer:  My message to other Hispanic families that are looking for a sport for their kids is to just go out and try. When I was trying out sports, I tried tennis, baseball, swimming, soccer, and basketball. It just came down to which sport I enjoyed the most. Never force your child to play any sport. Playing the sport should be a choice and not an obligation.

Question:  Who is your favorite pro player and why?

Answer:  My favorite pro player is Rafael Nadal. Nadal is my favorite player because I love his style of play. He gives 100 percent on every single shot, point, and match that I have seen him play. His fighting spirit is absolutely incredible and his passion for the sport is amazing. On top of these things, Nadal is a gentleman. Nadal shows respect to everyone, even though he is one of the best players to play the game. These characteristics are the ones that make him my favorite player.

Click here for the Spanish language version