Tennis has long been close to the heart of Northwest Tennis senior co-captain Rahul Manoah, who battled a lengthy road en route to his second year at Northwest
The 21-year-old was born in Chennai, a city on the southeastern coast of India. Manoah said that when he was just six years old, his father introduced him to tennis, and he knew from that moment that it was his calling.
“He took me in and I just started liking it,” Manoah said. “I never had any second thoughts about having a different sport; it was just tennis.”
It was at the age of 12 when Manoah began to take the sport seriously. He began to compete in tournaments across India, not only at the state, but also the national level. This led to international tournaments where Manoah began to gain recognition for his play.
He was then offered the chance to go Spain at age 15, to train on a scholarship. It was an opportunity that Manoah said gave him a different outlook on international tennis.
“It gave me a different kind of exposure on international tennis,” Manoah said. “After that, when I was 18 or something, that was a junction of what I wanted to do in life. To take tennis as a professional or did I want to go get my college degree.”
The deciding factor in Manoah’s decision to focus on education had nothing to do with his commitment to the game, but everything to do with what was best for his future. He had suffered a major injury to his elbow that sidelined him from tennis for six months. It was at this moment he knew he had to have a backup plan apart from tennis.
“That was the point where I realized I had to have a plan B in my life, and I wanted to get my college degree as well,” Manoah said. “Before that, my intention was going back to Spain and focusing on tennis, but that injury slowed things down, and I had a different perspective on what I wanted to do.”
Manoah decided to major in applied health science and exercise, in order to stay connected to the game of tennis after he graduates.
“It’s about learning myself and how the athletes body works,” Manoah said. “I kind of liked the idea, and also being associated with the sport from a very end gate, I couldn’t think about any other major that I was interested in.”
Manoah started his college tennis career at Tyler Junior College in Texas, where he played for two years before coming to Northwest. Tyler, according to Northwest coach Mark Rosewell, has one of the best junior college programs in the country.
“We got him out of Tyler Junior College, which is probably the number one junior college in tennis in the country,” Rosewell said. “He comes from a really good program, and we’ve had a few from there, and they’re really hard to get and recruit, so he’s a good level.”
Manoah then made his way to Northwest, which grabbed his attention with the rich history of success the program has had. Manoah said he had a relationship with Rosewell, as well as many friends who had attended Northwest, which helped him in his decision to come to Maryville.
“I knew coach Rosewell for almost a year in talking and stuff,” Manoah said. “I had some friends who had gone here and gave me good feedback.
Rosewell relies on Manoah for leadership, as well as performance on the court. But it is who he is as a person that really sticks out to Rosewell.
“He’s a good person, and the other guys elected him as co-captain, so you know that has to be a good sign,” Rosewell said. “He’s a good student, a good player, really everything positive.”
Manoah plans on getting into coaching and pursuing his coaching degree after he receives his bachelor’s from Northwest in the spring.