Catching up with the fc**tennis academy – Nick Nugent
After 18 months with an injury many young sportsmen would be tempted to give up or lose interest. However this was not the case for Nicholas Nugent from the fc**tennis academy.
At the age of 14 Nick started to feel sharp pains in his back and after a few months he was diagnosed with a severely herniated disc in his lower back. After trying conventional treatment, including steroid injections and nerve decompression surgery, Nick ended up have a full microdiscectomy (back surgery) to remove most of the disc. The whole process kept him off court for 18 months. He was only 15 at the time.
It’s testament to Nick’s character that he remained highly motivated and focused to get back to playing tennis. After a long 18 months, Nick is making good progress in his tennis and is beginning to return to his former standard.
“I was determined to not be beaten by this injury. It was very frustrating as I had just established myself as one of the best under 14 players in the country and having to accept that I wasn’t going to be playing tennis for well over a year was difficult. I never once thought about giving up, in fact it was the opposite – all I thought about was getting back on the court.”
Nick joined Dukes Meadows in 2011, just a couple of months before his troubles started. He was previously training at David Lloyds Raynes Park but felt he needed a change to reinvigorate himself and had been a long time admirer of Dukes Meadows.
“Firstly my friend Jasmine Asghar had joined Dukes Meadows and told me how she loved playing tennis here. Secondly I had previously spoken to Marten Renstrom and was always fascinated by what he had to say and I knew he was at Dukes Meadows. I wanted a change and Dukes Meadows seemed perfect for me.”
Nick came to Dukes Meadows with a reputation as one of the finest under 14 tennis players in the country. The injury was undoubtedly a big blow but he believes that his coach Marten has been instrumental in getting him back into shape and winning tournaments after such a long period out on the sidelines.
“Marten in my eyes is the best coach I could have – he’s improved me so much. After my back injury I was slightly worried about how long it would take to recover but Marten made that transition very smoothly and ironed out some technical issues I was having.”
This summer Nick has shown tremendous form and is certainly edging closer to his pre-injury level. He won 18 matches in a row, including the Colborne Woking Men’s and U18s, the Letchworth Summer Open U18s, the Esher Open Men’s and the Sutton Grade 3 U18s. His men’s ranking has soared from 633 to 224 nationally and his U18 ranking from 97 to 41 nationally.
His aim for the next 12-18 months is to concentrate on British Tours and begin to work towards getting a world ranking.
“As I’ve been out for so long, going abroad and competing in ITF events wouldn’t make much sense for me. I need to improve my tennis and that’s my main priority. I don’t think there’s too much difference in standard between the ITF’s and the top British Tours. I’d say the British Tours are more physical and stronger but ITF’s are more consistent and the style of play is a bit more technical.”
Marten Renstrom is absolutely delighted with Nick’s comeback and now hopes he can go on to fulfil his undoubted potential.
“Following his injury, we changed some technical and tactical elements of Nick’s game, which he has implemented really well. Now he’s playing at the level he should be playing because he’s capable of definitely playing with the best in the country. He’s a tremendous guy and his dedication to tennis makes him a pleasure to work with.”
Nick’s attitude since his injury has been absolutely fantastic and his work ethic is inspirational to other members of the academy. We are extremely privileged to have him as a member of fc**tennis.