I started playing tennis at the boys and girls club.
At nine years old I was homeschooled. My mother knew how much I loved to play the sport. She would do anything for me.
Between wanting to spend time with my siblings and I, and wanting to watch me progress as a tennis player, she sacrificed everything just for that goal. This was not easy since it was basically one parent while growing up in the projects.
My father wasn’t around much. When I was thirteen, I watched him get sentenced for real estate fraud. Despite always having a connection, since he was my father, we never became that close because he was in jail for most of my childhood.
The living situation wasn’t ideal. It got so bad for about two years we lived without running water, heat and air conditioning.
The limited money affected my tennis. We didn’t have enough money for me to continue to play or travel. Since I was the best in the south for my age group and got along really well with everyone in my section, people were extremely generous and would pay for my trips to tournaments, if I went with their kid.
My ongoing success finally got me on USTA’s radar, which led to an eventual scholarship. It was needed since my mother was sadly just about out of money. It was all my mom who got to me to where I am today. No matter the circumstances, she did a good job of shielding us and giving us the best childhood possible. Although many would see it as tough, she made sure each day as a kid was enjoyed and that we were truly happy.
My work ethic and mentality comes from her. Coaches saw I was always a hard worker, which is why they either worked with me for free or a super low price.
Us being poor didn’t affect me negatively on the court. All these experiences made me who I am. From taking public transportation alone, to and from practice, to sleeping in cars during tournaments on occasion.
I wouldn’t have changed anything because I am stronger for it all.
— Nathan Pasha (University of Georgia 2015)
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