Faces of the Future: Switzerland's Nalani Buob

The 16-year-old wheelchair tennis player dreams of reaching the top spot in the women´s rankings, emulating what her hero and tennis legend Martina Hingis did over a decade ago. 11 Feb 2017
Group picture on a tennis court with some people in wheelchairs

Nalani Buob is a 16-year-old wheelchair tennis player from Switzerland.

ⒸNalani Buob

“I want to be the world No. 1 but I need to train harder and do my best to achieve that goal.”

Fresh from clinching her first Junior Masters title in Tarbes, France, Nalani Buob shared her dream of becoming the world No.1 wheelchair tennis player amongst the seniors, emulating what her hero and tennis legend Martina Hingis achieved over a decade ago.

Switzerland’s Buob, who currently leads the girls’ world rankings, does not feel deterred by the high competitive level in the sport and believes her hard work will pay off in order to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“I am practising a lot now because I hope to compete at the 2020 Paralympics,” she said. “In the future, I also aim to win the Paralympic gold. At the moment it is just a dream, but I hope to achieve that one day.”

The 16-year-old, ranked No.26 in the world amongst women, is the youngest player within the top 50.

“I want to be the world No. 1 but I need to train harder and do my best to achieve that goal,” she said.

She also has a preference as to which of the four Grand Slams she would like to win in the future. “My favourite one is the Australian Open because part of my family lives close to Melbourne,” she explained.

Buob took up wheelchair tennis five years ago, after her fifth grade school teacher Marcel Boss suggested she do it to learn to become an independent woman.

“He searched for something I could do alone and came up with this. I will never forget that he started all this,” she said.

Last summer, Buob started an apprenticeship at a company, where she works in the afternoon so that she can devote herself to training in the morning.

“It makes it much easier for me to combine my studies and my practices,” said Buob, who was born with spina bifida.

When she is not on the courts, Buob likes reading and playing the violin, activity she started nine years ago. “I also go swimming from time to time and train athletics once a week in the Swiss city of Nottwil,” she said.

Looking ahead to the next competitions, Buob knows what she needs to improve in order to climb in the world rankings.

“I would describe myself as a mentally strong player,” she said. “I have good shots but need to improve on my physical strength. I need to get stronger to become a more aggressive player.

“I hope I can have a great wheelchair tennis career.”

Editor’s note: “Faces of the Future” is a series published once a month on Paralympic.org that introduces you to some of the young, rising talent in Para sport.