James Cluskey Talks About Early His Days In Parks Tennis

Former Ireland Player James Cluskey Talks About His Early Start In Parks Tennis

My brother and sister were in the Parks Tennis in Swords and if I wasn’t introduced into the Parks my life would be very different because I probably wouldn’t have played tennis. I was very shy, I don’t know what I would have played. Maybe I would have played Gaelic. My dad wanted me to play a bit of Gaelic, I didn’t really enjoy it that much, and my eyes were opened to Tennis. I’d say that I went into Parks probably when I was 7 (years old).

Parks Tennis brought out of me the love of the game, how much I actually love the game. I was pretty good in the Parks, I loved the coaching and the natural progression then was to continue playing tennis and doing coaching in the club after. So I can say that if it wasn’t for the Parks I’m not sure where my tennis would have gone, and if I’d even have played tennis.

From the Parks I went on to play for Leinster and Ireland I had a good Junior career in Ireland and then I went on to college in the States, Louisiana State University. I did well in College, I was ranked No. 3 in the country in doubles. The natural progression, I always wanted to play professionally. It was a tough transition but, one I made.

Career highlights, I was lucky enough to play Davis Cup for Ireland for 9 years, which was brilliant, that was one of my dreams. I was lucky enough to win a couple of ATP challengers. I won one in Istanbul, one in Gumarães in Portugal and I made a couple of finals as well. I also played a couple of ATP 250 events as well which was brilliant. I met some great people. I have a lot of highlights, a lot of good memories. To play an ATP 250, not a lot of Irish guys have played an ATP 250. Obviously I missed Wimbledon by one spot a couple of years ago, I was really close. So that’s one I kind of missed but other than that Davis Cup was a big dream of mine and I was lucky enough to play that for a decade.

James Cluskey

(Image from RTE.ie)

If you look at where tennis has taken me, it’s taken me to college in America with a scholarship, to play for my country for 9 years, and just to meet some incredible people. It’s given me some great opportunities in life. And that all started with Parks Tennis. So, if it wasn’t for the Parks, I’m not sure I’d be sitting here right now.

I was approached last year to help out in Parks Tennis a little bit so I attend the events that are on which is really great. I’m brand ambassador, I’ve done some stuff with Maxol which is great. It’s great for the Parks to have a big name sponsor. Last year I gave out the prizes to the kids and I hope to do that again this year. I’m very appreciative of what tennis has given me, so I’m really happy to give back. And I want to find the next Roger Federer, and hopefully the next Roger Federer or Serena Williams or whoever is in the Parks Tennis.

I retired professionally at the end of last year and I’m now working outside of tennis, but I still play once a week I would say. I play for Malahide in the League and we won the Summer League on Saturday and I was the captain.

I would 100 per cent recommend Parks Tennis to young tennis players. I think it’s great to have fun and play tennis and I think it’s a great introduction to tennis. As people say, it’s a sport for life, you can still play it when you’re 70 years old. It’s a brilliant way to get active and play sports.