Tennis discovers a new Spirit in the game | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Tennis discovers a new Spirit in the game

5 February, 2023
Saajida Razick with the Spirit of Tennis award and the women’s singles trophy
Saajida Razick with the Spirit of Tennis award and the women’s singles trophy

Starting off as a loser, Saajida Razick did not give up and was determined to continue in the sport of tennis that has paid off immensely propelling her from a shy beginner to a mature role model even at a very young age.

The latest and best achievement came when she was selected a winner of the ‘spirit of the game’ award at the end of the SSC Open Tennis Championship that concluded last week. This trophy was donated by former Sri Lanka cricketer Chandra Schaffter in memory of his late son Dinesh Schaffter. It would be better if she is now called the new Princess of Tennis.

“The selection was made by judges who follow every player and study their performances, attitude, temperament, conduct, on and off the court and behaviour during the championship as Ambassadors for the Sport,” said Chammika de Silva tournament director at SSC.

Incidentally, Saajida emerged winner in the women’s Open singles, the first time in any singles event and also in the under-18 singles event at this championship.

Saajida started by picking balls at tennis lessons held at the 80 Club with her coach Prasanna. She was already over eight years old when she began playing with a tennis racquet.

She later attended practices at her school Bishop’s College and struggled a lot before being selected to play for the College junior team.

Saajida was then introduced to coach Kevin Makandarajah who did a lot of hard work to raise her game up to competitive level and by the time she reached the age of 14 years her game had improved to the point that she was participating at competitive level.

At the beginning she was always losing without obtaining any points to her name. “I fell in love with my game at the beginning,” she said during a speech at the prize presenting ceremony at the SSC pavilion.

It was at a time when Saajida’s parents asked her whether they were spending too much money without any improvement in her game. At the beginning it was coach Kevin who helped her and advised her parents to be patient with her progress. All coaches encouraged her with her game.

After much hard work and when she reached the age of 14 years she was picked to participate in the under-14 World Juniors and this was the beginning of her journey to success.

She was chosen to participate in the ATF tournament held in Sri Lanka and finished as runner-up. Then in a tournament held in Bangladesh she finished as runner-up in the first week but was the winner in the second week’s event.

Saajida was a participant at the World Juniors held in Malaysia where the standard was high. As she excelled in tennis at Bishop’s College she received the gold award at their Colours Night and was coached by Suminda Trizanth and Dominic.

She is the youngest of four daughters in the family and besides tennis, Saajida also excelled in studies. She was placed first in many Junior Speech and Drama examinations held by Trinity College London and The Wendy Whatmore Academy.

She has completed the GCE Ordinary level examination and presently studying for her London Edexcel ALs subjects Pure Maths, Further Pure Maths, Psychology and English Literature. She has been training at the Dineshkanthan Tennis School (DTS) where Dineshkanthan Thangarajah is her coach for the past eight years. The others doing coaching at DTS are Kevin, Chehan, Suren, Fazmeer, Harsha and Daniel.


Men’s singles: winner; Sharmal Dissanayake,
Runner-up: Chathurya Nilaweera

Men’s doubles: winners: Thehan Wijemanne and Chathurya Nilaweera
Runners-up: Apna Perera and Zaidh Zihar

Women’s singles: winner: Saajida Razick,
Runner-up: Neyara Weerawansa

Women’s doubles: winners: Neyara Weerawansa and Janai Manamperi
Runners-up: Dinara de Silva and Saajida Razick

Mixed doubles: winners: Chathurya Nilaweera and Neyara Weerawansa
Runners-up: Thehan Wijemanne and Savini Jayasuriya

(Boys singles):

U-12: winner: Yudheerya Atapattu. Runner-up: Nithushan Pulinath
U-14: winner: Chamindu Abeysinghe, Runner-up: Aahil Kaleel

U-16: winner: Ganuka Fernando, Runner-up: Danushka Dias
U-18: winner: Zaidh Zihar,

Runner-up: Vichinthya Nilaweera

Girls’ singles:

U-12: winner: Annaya Norbet,
Runner-up: Hesandee Mallawarachchi

U-14: winner: Githmi Fernando, Runner-up: Githmi Fernando
U-16: winner: Githmi Fernando, Runner-up: Arushi Thomas
U-18: winner: Saajida Razick,

Runner-up: Vishmi Serasinghe

Boys’ doubles:

U-14: winners: Ajesh Kajan and Chamidu Abeysinghe,
Runners-up: Kenula Ratnayake and Pasindu Rukunayaka

U-16: winners: Ganuka Fernando and Karthi Udayachandran,
Runners-up: Abdul Cader and Kavindu Saumya

U-18: winners: Vichinthya Nilaweera and Zaidh Zihar,
Runners-up: Harieshwar Parameshwaran and Wenuka Delkadure

Girls’ doubles:

U-14: Sandithi Usgodaarachchi and Venuli Jayasinghe,
Runners-up: Nimasha Shehara and Nisali Dissanayake

U-16: winners: Gehansa Methnadi and Githmi Fernando,
Runners-up: Devhara Fernando and Arushi Thomas

Men’s singles:

Over-35: winner: Joy Bardent,
Runner-up: Dinusha Wijesuriya
Over-45: winners: Dennis Chaibi, Runner-up: Samuel Balasingha

Men’s doubles:

Over-45: winners: Ayesh Perera and Perumal Ganeshan,
Runners-up: Srimal Kannangara and Ranjith Fernando