Source: May Chen,The Straits Times
PARIS - He was playing on an unfamiliar court surface, facing a top European youngster.
But rather than feel intimidated, 11-year-old Ethan Lye, Singapore's representative at the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in Paris, stepped onto the court on Thursday ready to give it his best shot.
He said: "I wasn't thinking about playing a clay-court game. I was playing as if the match was on a hard court, which is what I'm used to."
As it was his first time in three years playing a match on clay, Ethan went down 1-4, 3-5 (an abbreviated scoring system was used) to Marco Furlanetto of Italy at the Tennis Club de la Chataigneraie.
Marco, 12, had won the Lemon Bowl (Under-10 category) - one of the world's most prestigious junior tournaments - on this very surface in 2011.
Said Ethan, who had spent a week prior to the tournament training on clay in Slovakia: "These guys have been practising on clay courts since they were much younger and it helps.
"It's really hard to change direction when you're playing on clay."
He did change tack in the second set, successfully breaking the Italian's serve early to claim a 3-1 lead.
However, a slew of unforced errors, including two consecutive double-faults, meant he was broken back immediately.