Story/Interview November 2, 2022
Slovak tennis international: “Online school is better than I imagined” | Simon Norman, Tennis Player
King’s InterHigh student Simon Norman competes for Slovakia in international tennis tournaments. With a busy training schedule, the 17-year-old likes that he can catch up with lesson recordings after matches. He also appreciates the variety of subjects available to study, including economics.
From day one, Simon’s had no reservations about joining King’s InterHigh. In fact, he says he never expected it to be this good. He can email his teachers if he doesn’t understand something, and they respond fast.
How did you get into tennis?
I started playing when I was three years old. My dad bought me my first racket, and I really like playing! I started going to training sessions when I was four, where I began learning proper techniques and how to use the racket.
When did you start representing Slovakia?
When I was 12, which is the earliest age I could. The Slovak Tennis Federation (STZ) starts looking at rankings, and who they can put into the national team. I’ve been playing nationally ever since.
How were you chosen?
After playing in Slovak and international tournaments, you earn points. If your ranking is good, The STZ meets and discusses who the best players are and picks players from each age category to play nationally.
What does your training programme look like?
From Monday to Friday, I practice two times a day. I’ll boost that with conditioning training up to three times a week as well. I normally have Saturdays free and go to a tournament or rehabilitation on Sundays.
What drew you to King’s InterHigh?
I can concentrate a lot more on tennis and on school. When I miss a lesson, I can watch the recording in the evening. If I'm in a tournament and I play a match in the morning, I’ll have the rest of the day free so I can join online. That’s perfect for me.
Were there any other reasons?
I like economics, and the physical school I was attending didn’t offer this subject at A Level. If I ever left tennis, business and economics would be my focus. I was happy to see King’s InterHigh offering this and a wide range of subjects. I’m also studying psychology and sociology, as those fit well with economics.
What do you like about economics so much?
I like watching TV shows about it, and I find how to run a business and bookkeeping very interesting.
Did you ever have any reservations about online learning?
No. In fact, I’d say it’s made me even happier. I didn't expect it to be this good! The teachers are great – I can write an email if I don't understand anything, and they explain everything to me. For example, I recently wasn't sure about something in business. I wrote an email and I had a reply in one hour. That’s how helpful the teachers are.
“I can concentrate a lot more on tennis and on school. When I miss a lesson, I can watch the recording in the evening. If I'm in a tournament and I play a match in the morning, I’ll have the rest of the day free so I can join online. That’s perfect for me.”
What advice would you give to anyone who's considering online learning?
Go for it! It took me two or three lessons to figure out how everything works. Everything comes together so nicely. Online learning will play out well for you and help you a lot.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My main ambition is to be a professional tennis player. But it's hard - it's very hard. That's why my parents always wanted me to have a good education. Dad wanted me to go to a British school or an International school. So, my other goal would be to move to study in the UK, and study economics.
Are there any milestones that you want to hit with tennis?
I'm playing under-18 International Tennis Federation (ITF) matches now. And I would like to continue onto over-18s, and to play a Grand Slam one day.
“I don’t think I expected online learning to be this good. It’s made me really happy. The teachers are great. If I don’t understand something, I can write an email and get a reply within one hour.”