LifeTime Tennis Legends: Finn Macnamara
by Xavier Lim, on Jan 27, 2021 11:14:02 AM
Having been a member of LifeTime Tennis for close to 10 years, Finn Macnamara is the epitome of a LifeTime Tennis player. Finn has achieved a UTR high of 11.7 and an Australian Ranking inside the top 200. Program director Graeme Brimblecombe has overseen Finn's development for much of his teenage years.
- What age did you start playing tennis and why?
I first started playing tennis once a week at school, but I started playing more seriously when I joined LifeTime at age 10. I found the competitive aspect of tennis very compelling from a young age as I have always been competitive by nature. When I joined LifeTime and started working with Brim, I learned that tennis was so much more than just hitting the ball over the net, and that is when I fell in love with the game. The reasons I have enjoyed playing tennis for so many years – and the reasons I started playing – can be attributed to the professional, yet enjoyable environment the coaches at LifeTime create.
- Can you give us a brief overview of your playing career?
I have always enjoyed playing tournaments and have experienced a wide array of junior and open events. I would say I started my ‘playing career’ a bit later than most people, so it was difficult to accept I wasn’t able to compete in the bigger tournaments at first. Under Brim’s guidance, I began playing lower level junior tournaments at first, and slowly worked my way up to state and national level events. Some of the best experiences I got came from school tennis in the GPS competition. This was a great way to get a lot of good quality matches in, as well as having a strong focus on doubles.
- What has been your favourite tennis memory?
There are a lot to choose from, but there are two that stand out. The first is a LifeTime trip to the December showdown. The tournament had a completely different atmosphere to anything I’d experienced, and it was my first taste of a professional environment. Another memorable moment was winning the schools nationals in Albury, where I represented Brisbane Boy's College. Since tennis is such an individual sport, I have always found team events really enjoyable. This event was also the first tournament I had played on grass, which was a great experience.
- What is your favourite part about LifeTime?
My favourite part of the LifeTime program was the junior tours during the holidays. I have a lot of great memories, especially from the Sydney/Canberra tours, both on and off the court. These tours allowed us to play a lot of matches, and they were against people we hadn’t seen before, which was very beneficial to our games as younger players. I am very thankful to the coaches for providing these great experiences.
- What are your goals for your tennis?
I have always wanted to play tennis at a professional level. With four years of college tennis ahead of me, my current goals are to improve as much as I can in that time to give myself the best chance of playing competitively after I graduate.
- Tell us about your choice surrounding college.
I elected to go down the college pathway when I was 16, as it was the best opportunity for me personally to get the most out of my tennis. I started playing tournaments later than most, so I knew I wasn’t going to peak before college. Because of this, with the guidance of Brim, we decided that I would have a better chance of trying to play after another four years of training. I decided on the University at Buffalo as it had the best combination of tennis, academics, and coaching staff for me. Some of the most important factors I was considering in my selection process was looking for a coach that was really invested in the team, and being able to play on the team from the start. I am really happy with my choice to attend UB as it gifts me both of these opportunities.
- What's the most important thing you've learnt so far?
Something that Brim taught me early on was you have to know your game, and know your opponent’s game. I was pretty small for most of the juniors, so this advice helped me a lot. It taught me that you don’t have hit the hardest, you just have to play smart and find something unique about yourself. Brim would say it’s the difference between hitting tennis balls and playing tennis. Another thing that has stuck with me is one of Brim’s golden rules: if you can’t win the point, don’t lose it.
- Who has been the most influential person in your tennis career?
The most influential figure in my tennis life has been Brim, who has coached me privately for the past 9 years. Brim has always invested time into me as a tennis player and a person, and has taught me most of what I know about tennis. He may not do things the conventional way, but I think being different is what makes Brim such a great coach.
- What's a piece of advice for you'd give your younger self?
I think everyone finds it very easy to prioritise results over everything else, especially when they’re younger. The advice I would give to myself as a younger player would be to focus on playing how I wanted to play, rather than trying to win. Back then, it felt like every match was crucial to my whole career, but now I can barely remember them. I think it is more important to focus on improving your game as a younger player, so you have a more developed game in the future.