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2023 an international education for rising Namibian tennis star

5 December 2023

Maties tennis up and comer Lisa Yssel has had a promising 2023 on the international stage. She recently competed for Namibia at the Billie Jean King (BJK) Cup in Kenya in June and was later also selected to represent her country’s senior national team in August at the Kikuxi Villas Open in Angola.

Having participated in an array of sports including tennis, netball, athletics, and swimming, it is clear that from a young age Yssel had a passion for sport. “Tennis has been a part of my life since I was 6 years old. I have always had a passion for it. Most would describe it as ‘love-hate relationship’ but somehow the love and the thrill of playing has my heart and always will,” she explained.

Yssel, who is currently in her second year studying logistics and supply chain management, admits that it is tough to find a steady balance between sport, her social life and studies. However, she has found her balance through proper planning, execution, and self-discipline saying, “Knowing when to prioritize something, meeting deadlines, always staying prepared for unexpected changes that might happen, and being able to adjust to them, but most importantly staying on top of everything.”

When asked how Maties has played a role in her development and progression, she was filled with gratitude. “Maties has given me the platform and facilities to develop my tennis career whilst building my profession. The past year and a half has been some of the best tennis I have ever played, and I never imagined to have improved so much in such a short time,” she said.

She further describes her training this year as ‘specialized and intense,’ tailored specifically on her game and physique. It helped her immensely in the preparation for the BJK Cup in June. “The BJK Cup was an amazing experience for me. I was able to test my limits, gain exposure and walk away with a few wins. It has motivated me for the remainder of the year as well as future similar events.” Yssel can also set her sights on tennis competition at the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games set to take place in Germany.

Yssel speaks through a clinical lesson she has grasped in working with Maties tennis coach Dr. Brendan Thomas over the past year, which any student-athlete can also take from. “He said to me that tennis is a game of emergencies. You are constantly adapting, changing, and working around your opponents, surroundings and environment. In the past few years of my tennis career, I had to adapt to unusual surfaces, living environments on tours, and play so many different opponents. It enabled me to learn a set of skills and abilities which I intend on using to carve not only my future in tennis but also with life in general,” she expressed.

Her future hopes are already paved for the year and beyond as she attests, “I hope to further prepare for the summer USSA’s with my team and hopefully, represent Namibia again at the Region 5 Youth Games at the end of the year. I hope to one day also make the team for the World University Games to further represent Maties, be captain of the Namibian Women’s team for future BJK Cup Tours and obtain a world WTA ranking in the top 500. Overall to go as far as I can and be the best that I can be with my God-given talent for His glory.”

Written by Kimara Singh – UMedia Reporter