Vermani writes, publishes articles about tennis

Vansh Vermani (12) never expected to have 14 articles published in world-renowned tennis publications such as Tennis Tuesday and Tennis View Magazine. Nor did he ever expect to express his passion for tennis in the form of writing.

As Vermani scrolled along on his computer screen inside of a coffee shop and stared at the all the pieces he wrote over the past three years, Feb. 24, he remembered one hot summer day a decade ago. A time when he found his passion for tennis. A time when he saw tennis in a completely different light.

“My brother and I were walking around outside the house, drinking lemonade and trying to find something to do,” Vermani said. “But when I passed by a green dumpster at the end of the cul de sac, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.”

There, sitting in a heap of garbage, was an old, Prince tennis racquet.

“I remembered my dad had something like it and I was confused as to why it was in the dumpster,” Vermani said. “But I snatched it and ran as fast as I could.”

From there, Vermani would play endlessly, hour after hour, smacking the ball against the wall of his garage despite the grumblings of his family. Eventually, after practicing tennis on his own and tagging along with his father to the tennis courts, Vermani started playing organized tennis and progressed through the various competitive levels at a steady pace.

“I played recreational team tennis for a while,” he said. “Then, after that, I went on to tournaments. So, then I started playing satellite tournaments and open tournaments. Then, my ranking started getting good, within the top 70 in the southern California for singles.”

As his performance improved, tennis consumed an enormous part of Vermani’s life.

“I started winning some tournaments and then, I legitimately wanted to become a professional tennis player because I watched a lot, I played a lot, I trained a lot,” he said. “I went to clinics. I went to the gym. I went full on tennis.”

But just as Vermani was preparing to enter high school, the unexpected happened.

“I felt the injury for the first time during a match in the summer before my freshman year,” he said. “I thought at that time it’s probably going to go away, like one of those things where you don’t sleep well at night or like it just happened after a shot or something. So then, I thought okay, I’m probably going to take a break for a little while. Then, I’ll go back to playing tournaments.”

But, Vermani underestimated his injury and what he saw in his MRI scans would sideline him from tennis and bring six months of frustration.

“The doctor said I had patellar tendinitis in my right knee and told me I couldn’t play for another six months,” Vermani said. “He gave me a set of physical exercises I had to go in and do three times a week that’d work and strengthen the area around my knee. If it still didn’t get better after six months, I had to undergo surgery. I thought this could be the end. I was really devastated.”

As the reality of the situation dawned on him, all kinds of questions raced through Vermani’s mind. What was he going to do? How was he going to recover before tryouts and make the high school team, which Vermani said was particularly competitive at the time?

“At one point, I even cried,” Vermani said. “I had other activities, but I didn’t care about any of them as much as I did for tennis. If I wasn’t going to be able to play, then other people were going to get better. My ranking would go down. I wouldn’t be able to play tennis in college. My dream was shattered.”

Despite all of this, Vermani eventually came to the realization that sulking over his circumstances would not change anything. As a result, he said he began to turn his situation into a positive experience.

“I could either take this the negative way or convert it into something,” Vermani said. “So even if I wasn’t playing tennis, I thought the least I could do was express my passion for tennis in a different way. I started coaching 7 to 8-year-old family friends and watching and talking to people about tennis. I loved watching everything about tennis matches. I loved looking at the stats and all of the post interviews and highlights.”

From this passion, Vermani was inspired to write about tennis.

“I realized I wanted to write about all these stats and matches too, so I eventually came out with my first article that upcoming summer,” he said.

In June 2015, Vermani wrote his first tennis article, providing an overview of 2014’s tennis highlights and its significance in the tennis world. Although hesitant at first, he began to share his article with close friends and branched out to social media.

“I was pretty self-conscious about what people would think about my articles at the very beginning,” Vermani said. “But I shared them with tennis fans I was following on Twitter and Facebook. And eventually, some of them actually recommended that I send one to a few tennis magazines.”

One of these individuals, Chris Skelton, the chief editor of Tennis View Magazine at the time, made a particularly exciting offer to Vermani.

“[Skelton] messaged me and told me that he liked my article so much that he wanted to give me a full-time job at Tennis View Magazine,” Vermani said. “Except, he couldn’t pay me because I was a minor. But still I accepted the offer and it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”

As a writer for Tennis View Magazine, Skelton had Vermani write about tennis in a wide variety of ways.

“I covered all the Grand Slams,” he said. “I wrote recaps and overviews of the most memorable matches. I got into detail with analyses of the matches and then talked about the matches’ broader meanings for tennis and the whole tournament. I also made predictions by using stats from previous matches.”

Two weeks after publishing his first article in Tennis View Magazine, Vermani was featured in the Junior Players section of the more well known Tennis Tuesday publication, where he wrote an opinion about professional tennis and an excerpt of his passion for the sport. Tennis Tuesday is a weekly publication that consists of an assortment of different writings from analyses to narratives from famous people like Chrissie Evert, an 18-time women’s Grand Slam champion of the 1980s.

“It was really cool because I got to write in the same publication as some of these people,” Vermani said.

Currently, Vermani gets around four to five articles published in Tennis View Magazine each year. But that’s not to say he is idle when it comes to writing.

“In June 2016, I created a tennis blog website through WordPress called ‘Tennis Fan For Life,’” he said. “In it, I usually post an article every week, whether it gets published in a professional publication or not.”

However, his favorite thing to post has always been significant figures and numbers.

“Every week, I have a stat because I’m really into statistics,” he said. “Numbers tell a big story because they are usually accurate and can reveal a lot of patterns.”

The blog has been a way for Vermani to express himself and look back on all of his works.

“It’s a portfolio of everything I do,” he said. “It really allows me to express my passion for tennis with hundreds of other tennis fans around the world.”

Vermani also has his a YouTube channel where he predicts the outcome of professional tournaments through “click tennis,” a video slideshow where people click through brackets based on who they think will progress to the championship.

During the time of his injury, Vermani also continued to go through rehab and eventually got back into shape for tennis. He played on junior varsity his freshman and sophomore years and is now entering his second year on varsity as a senior. Although he has come to excel in the sport as the top singles player and team captain, Vermani said he believes his experience with his injury and blogging have really changed his perspective about tennis.

“Tennis meant a lot to me,” he said. “I saw it has more than just a game. But I see it a lot differently now. I used to want to play for a Division I college and go professional and be all competitive, but now I am just happy to play and I’ve really grown to love to write about this sport.”