Ten Minutes With Noah Farrell
At only 13, Noah Farrell already holds impressive credentials in the world of junior tennis. Ranked number-one in New England in the 10 and under division by the United States Tennis Association, and number three in the 12 and under group, he currently holds the number 7 title in 14 and under. Low key yet confident, Farrell, who will enter Wilton High School this fall, admits there has never been a day he doesn’t enjoy playing tennis.
When did you start playing tennis?
On vacation, when I was five, I watched my dad take a tennis lesson. I thought it looked like fun so I wanted to try playing. When we returned home, my dad took me to the town courts. I started out using a wiffle ball and junior racquet, and fell in love with the game.
How do you train?
When I was younger, I hit with my dad and took group lessons. I still hit with him once a week, but I also hit with a coach at Four Seasons. We do drills and work on strategy. I also do injury prevention and strengthening exercises with a trainer once a week.
What racquet do you play with?
A Wilson BLX. I have to get it restrung once a week. I use a Western grip which lets me put a lot of spin on the ball, but causes my strings to break a lot.
When was your first tournament?
When I was nine, my dad signed me up for a 12-and-under USTA tournament. He didn’t know there was a 10-and under division. I lost all my matches. Now I play two to three New England tournaments a month, and a few national tournaments.
How do you prepare for tournaments?
About ten minutes before the match, I’ll talk strategy with my dad or my coach, and eat something—usually a piece of fruit or a sandwich—and jump rope so I’m not stiff. And I always wear a tennis hat.
What about during the match?
I try to play each point and not think about the score. Even if I’m up a set, the second set is a whole new game. I also try to stay on my toes; you have to be able to get to the ball. If I lose badly, I try to have a short-term memory and forget about it.
Do you find time for other activities?
I used to play baseball and soccer, but I thought it was too much. I do play the trumpet in the jazz and school band. It takes my mind off tennis.
What’s your best stroke?
My backhand, definitely. My serve hasn’t really clicked yet, maybe because of my size. I’m left-handed but I play tennis right-handed. Sometimes for fun, I’ll play lefty with my dad.
Any advice for aspiring young players?
To become good, you have to be dedicated and manage your time. I think school work should come first. If you want to go to a good college, you have to do well in school.
Where do you want to go with tennis?
I’d like to play for the Wilton High School team. I also hope to play in college, but I don’t want to go to a tennis school; I want to go to an academically strong college and play tennis there. I’d love to play professional tennis; it would be hard, but it is a dream.