Kaipo Marshall’s hard work and determination has earned him the 2016 Barbados Sol National Male Junior Tennis Championship.
At just 14 years old, Marshall, currently a student of The St Michael School, captured his first under-18 title in exciting fashion when he came from a set down to defeat Kyle Frost 2-1 in the best of three showdown.
“I think I had a good chance of winning under-eighteen at my age because I work really hard on my overall game. I play tennis from Monday to Friday for three hours a day and right now I have incorporated physical on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour to improve more on my fitness because my aim is to get stronger and fitter by the day,” said Marshall, who still has three years left in the under-18 division.
Currently coached by Paul Stewart and trained by Shannon Lashley, Marshall explained that in the final against a more seasoned campaigner in Frost he had nothing to lose and after dropping the first set 5-7 he give it his all to come back strongly and take the second and third sets at 6-1, 6-2.
Surprisingly, though, Marshall said his toughest battle of the competition came in the semifinal against his former doubles partner and reigning under-16 champion Romani Mayers.
Marshall who hails from a sporting family led by his father O’Neal Marshall who was a two-time Olympic wind surfer at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics. His mother Dominique was a fourth place finisher at the Caribbean Cycling Championship held in Barbados last year and also competes in numerous sporting events such as distance running and wind surfing. His sister Kiana Marshall recently gained a scholarship to play lawn tennis at the University of Richmond.
Earlier this year the Marshalls captured the National Sport Council’s family award.
Marshall told Barbados TODAY he looks up a lot to his big sister Kiana and aspires to go as far as she has in the sport or even further.
“When I see my sister playing I just try to be as good as her or even better. I enjoy playing practice games with her even though most times she beats me but the last time we played I won and that gave me more motivation,” he said with a smile.
The former St Angela’s student reminisces on how much he used to enjoy playing football and cricket but said he gave them up for his number one sport that being tennis. Among his goals and aspirations is to one day play on the Barbados Davis Cup team and hopefully be as successful as local tennis star Darian King who has broken many barriers in his career.
“Roger Federer is my favourite player but I look up to Darian King a lot because of his accomplishments as a young Barbadian tennis player who has won a number of qualifiers and has also made it to the US Open and that actually makes me want to get better every day,” said Marshall, who described himself as being an all-round player.
The talented right-handed player who just entered fourth form explained that balancing school work and playing the sport has not been easy but added he does not intend giving up irrespective of how trying things might get for him.
Marshall who also claimed the under-14 International Tennis Federation boys’ championship last year on home soil, went to Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year to get some points for his rankings but unfortunately missed out during the qualifiers.
Looking ahead he said his aim was to continue gaining as much exposure as he can and hopefully get some rankings early next year.
“I am trying now to get to the Orange Bowl International tennis in Florida where a lot of top junior players like myself go to compete and if I get to go there it would be a nice experience for me to see how I match up to others around the world who play the sport,” said the young upcoming talent.