Loughborough University student scholar, Olivia Nicholls, has been playing tennis since the age of five and competed in her first ever tournament in a mini red competition in Norfolk. Currently ranked 19 in the UK for women’s singles and 517 on the ITF circuit for doubles, Olivia has had a phenomenal 12 months. Juggling her undergraduate studies in Sports Science and Management and busy tennis schedule hasn’t been easy for the 21-year-old, but she has certainly made a good go at it this year. Olivia currently holds two ITF doubles titles from 2016 with fellow GB player Beth Askew, has won silver in singles and gold in doubles at the BUCS Individual Championships this year and has captained and played at no.1 for Loughborough first team coming runners-up in the BUCS National League and the BUCS Cup for 2015/16.
Alongside her individual tennis Olivia also represents her home county of Norfolk in summer and winter championships, has represented Great Britain Universities in the University Games and reached multiple British Tour semi-finals. This is all within the space of 12 months, and it goes without saying that she has had many previous successes but this year has been one of the best for the young talented sportswoman.
2016 is Olivia’s third consecutive summer coaching at Nike Tennis Camps and she shares with us exactly why she takes time out of her busy competition schedule to work for us...
“It's really nice to work with so many young people from different walks of life, all with different ambitions within tennis,” said Olivia. “It's also great to see how they improve in the time that they are at the camps!”
Want to know more about Olivia? – we asked her a few quick fire questions!
How old were you when you started tennis? “I was 5 years old.”
What is it about tennis that makes you enjoy it so much? “I enjoy how tennis is an individual sport so I'm responsible for what happens on court. But I also love competing in a team, particularly representing my county, university and club - it brings the best out of me. I've also met all of my closest friends through tennis!”
What is your best achievement in tennis to date? “I won the Bath 25k doubles in November, the highest calibre tournament I've ever won! Representing GB Universities at the World University Games and winning AEGON Team Tennis with Wilton are also two of my favourite moments.”
How long have you been coaching for? “I’ve been coaching for 5 years, since I was 16!”
What is your favourite food, film and band? “Favourite food is definitely a traditional Sunday roast! Film ooooh tough one, Love Actually I'd say. My favourite band is The 1975, but my favourite music is probably dance music.”
What is your guilty pleasure? “Probably cheesy pop music [laughs].”
Who is your ultimate role model? “My role model has to be Seb Coe - a Loughborough graduate who has been successful in his sport on and off the track. He was responsible for such an incredible London 2012 Olympic Games.”
Finally, who is your favourite tennis player?
“Favourite tennis player, Roger Federer, the god of tennis, greatest player of all time of course!”
Come to one of our Nike Tennis camps this summer and it's likely that you'll meet Olivia and get the chance to ask her many more interesting questions!
Written by Imogen Harry