Polynesian athletes are coming a long way from just playing football. Aside from throwing the pigskin, we have seen Polynesian athletes excel in baseball as well but now we’re seeing a definite game changer stepping onto the court. Her name is Steffi Carruthers and she is the first Samoan woman to play professional Tennis. We have high hopes for the 21 year-old athlete whose drive and discipline are sure to help her join the ranks of Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Petra Kvitova.
While she has a busy schedule off the court, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Carruthers in the middle of a tournament and she shared with TheWhatItDo a little about herself and her love for the sport.
TWID: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
SC: My name is Steffi Faasusivaitele Hearthington Carruthers. I’m 21 years young and have been playing Pro Tennis just over a year now. I was named after one of the greats of Women’s Tennis, Steffi Graf. I was born and raised in Samoa. I have four beautiful sisters and no brothers. Besides playing tennis, I like being outdoors playing other sports or teaching tennis to the young kids in my mother’s tennis academy in Samoa. I’m a strong Christian believer and love to be around family and loved ones, especially my nieces and nephews.
TWID: How long have you been playing tennis?
SC: About sixteen years of tennis and many more to come. As soon as I was able to hold a tennis racket and knew how to walk, I started playing tennis. I was born in a tennis family: parents, aunties, uncles, siblings, and cousins know how to play. My Mum was my first coach for about seven years.. When I was ten years old I knew I wanted to play tennis professionally one day.
TWID: Who are your biggest sports inspirations?
SC: My all time favorites are sisters, Serena and Venus Williams.
TWID: What keeps you motivated?
SC: My family motivates me a lot, along with the people of Samoa, and my tennis family in Samoa. I love and enjoy my sport and reaching new heights. I like to experience new places while playing tennis and that motivates me. I’m known by family and friends as an active person; never resting, always training and working on something to improve my game. I’m easily motivated on my own with my own desires and goals as well.
TWID: What do you do that helps get you pumped up for a match?
SC: Definitively some good pump-up music gets me started. Imagining myself playing great tennis on the court also gets me pumped. In general I’m usually always pumped haha.
TWID: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
SC: Continue training hard and play as many Pro tournaments in 2015 and hopefully do well and get my ranking up to play Grand Slams. Also, one of my biggest goals is to participate in Rio Olympics 2016 and being the first Samoan/Pacific Islander to do so in tennis.
TWID: Do you have any advice you can give to aspiring athletes?
SC: I have three:
1. Dream Big and follow your dreams.
2. Be confident and believe in yourself
3. Enjoy the journey and always give back the Glory to God.
Fingers crossed, we hope to see Steffi reach her goal of getting to play in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio!
Photo Courtesy of Steffi’s Facebook