Photo by Ahmad Ali Jaffer
Hugh McRoberts Grade 12 student Jessie Gong thinks the countless hours she’s spent playing tennis has prepared her well for when she attends prestigious Yale University on a tennis scholarship this fall.
Gong began playing tennis for fun when she was three, following in her dad’s footsteps while dabbling in many other sports.
But when she was 11, she decided to pursue tennis seriously, and has continued with it ever since.
Throughout her career, she’s represented Team BC at the Canada Summer Games, winning a silver medal, and has been a finalist multiple times at the Canadian Nationals.
She was a junior ‘International Tennis Federation’ singles champion, and most recently won the under-18 BC Indoor Provincials.
When reflecting back on the time she’s invested in the sport, Jessie said tennis has definitely prepared her for the future in so many different ways.
“I would not be who I am today without it.”
It’s helped her with time management, as she’s maintained a training regimen, on top of a heavy course load at school.
She trains six days a week, all year round when she’s not playing in tournaments. This consists of about 12 to 14 hours per week on the court, and four to five hours in the gym for fitness.
Her coaches from the Richmond Country Club and Tennis Canada have been a regular source of support and motivation.
When she was 13, Gong started travelling internationally for tournaments, with some trips lasting as long as a month. It was difficult at first to manage her schoolwork while travelling, however she made time to get her work done so she did not fall behind.
Gong obtained a scholarship to complete the NCAA Division 1 Women's Tennis’ program and said she is excited to “represent the Bulldogs, and overall ecstatic at the opportunity to receive an education at an amazing school.“
She’s taking things one step at a time, but is interested in studying molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.
The road to where she is today hasn’t always been smooth.
She’s had issues with her knees, ankles, feet, back, and shoulders that require extra attention and physiotherapy. Injuries cause one to feel a lack of energy, but Gong hasn’t let them stop her from training hard to achieve her goals.
Tennis has taught Jessie to never give up.
Playing in an individual sport, with no substitutions or time-outs if you’re having a bad day, she’s had to persevere continuously.
She’s come to realize that her successes or losses are on her shoulders, which motivates her to always push herself to do her best, no matter what the situation is.