The Sunday Mail
TENNIS protégé Mark Chigaazira is making his father Ambrose cry a lot these days.
A journey the father and son pair started with nothing but hope is showing signs of so much light at the end of the tunnel.
Realising that his almost empty pockets stood between his son and his tennis dream, Ambrose took it upon himself to coach young Mark.
The Chigaaziras could not afford the services of a professional coach and many laughed at their sessions, after all Ambrose knew very little about tennis.
There were many highs and lows but one thing the pair did not do was give up, they kept pushing on with the belief that brighter days were around the corner.
Then in April this year, Mark made his Davis Cup debut when Zimbabwe played Poland.
He left his father crying.
The 20-year-old tennis player then landed in the United States at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, where he will be playing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One and studying for a Business degree.
That too made his father cry. In fact, it still does.
A dream is coming true.
“I was not at the airport to see him off, but the moment I saw the pictures of Mark saying his goodbyes to the family members present, I shed some tears.
“All the emotions, all the memories of how hard this journey has been was too much for me.
“However, I had to act as if my eyes were bothering me to hide the fact that I was crying,” revealed Ambrose.
Mark has been making steady progress in his career, reaching fourth in the men’s rankings in South Africa last year and quarter-finals of the ITF Futures in Harare recently.
“I don’t know where I would be going if it didn’t go this way,” he told The Sunday Mail Sport last week from Alabama.
“At the beginning of the year I was just a dreamer, but now here I am fitting into life well. I feel more confident that everything is possible.
“I’ve managed to change a situation that didn’t look possible…everything will happen in God’s time.”
But before he worries about tennis court matters, Chigaazira is trying his best to get used to his new life.
“It’s a huge campus in a small town so people here are a welcoming,” said the tennis star.
“I’m adjusting well to this environment not forgetting the weather…it’s hot now so it’s giving me a chance to adjust.
“My academic program is made up in a way that does not clash with my tennis, but I’ve only done a few days in America so I’m hoping, as soon as I get the hang of things, to add in more hours to my tennis and gym program.
“This is what I have always been dreaming of. I know what it means to be here and plan to make the most of this opportunity.”