Deaf tennis profile: Glen Flindell
Deaf tennis player Glen Flindell discusses how tennis has enriched both his sporting and personal development and allowed him to connect with various communities around the world.
“My parents played tennis so it was only natural I would follow them into the sport. I participated in other sports growing up including basketball, tee-ball, soccer, football, cricket, however tennis probably won out because I was always at the local tennis club on weekends through my family’s involvement, and having a sister to play with obviously helped too.
“Pete Sampras and Pat Rafter were two guys I admired growing up and modelled my game around; [I loved] their unique attacking games where they could serve-volley as well as hold their own at the baseline. Growing up on the grass of Perth I was a regular serve-volleyer but in later years I’ve become more of a baseliner with a tendency to rush the net whenever an opportunity presents itself.
“[Tennis is] very much an individual sport at times and with few deaf players around it can be an isolating experience … [also it] can be more so for deaf players from a communication and camaraderie perspective when it comes to team environments. I think we just try not to dwell on it too much and focus more on playing tennis.
“[On the other hand] tennis has played a big part in my life and contributed to my experiences and personal development through my many interactions with several tennis communities over the years. Furthermore it’s given me a chance to explore the planet through playing representative deaf tennis abroad – I’ve made a couple of trips to Europe and Asia [Korea and Taipei] which have all been memorable experiences in themselves.
“I work as a medical scientist in the cytology field, and tennis has always been an after-hours sport for me with work and studies taking priority. Representative deaf tennis is obviously an amateur sport hence the need to work full time to pay our way, although I’ve been blessed to receive some support for a few of my overseas tournaments.
“[I draw inspiration from] my young family – my lovely fiancé and our gorgeous baby girl. I also enjoy watching other sports like AFL and cricket, however I take an interest in virtually all sports.
“[I would encourage people to] give tennis a go and join your local club for a work out.”