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Manchester High School for Girls

Holly Staff follows her dream

Holly Staff has left Manchester High after her Junior Sixth year to take up a tennis scholarship at Vanderbilt University in America.

With A grades in AS Maths, Physics and Economics, Holly is following her dream to become a professional tennis player, inspired by her heroes Serena Williams and Andy Murray.

Holly joined MHSG in Year 7 and balanced her tennis and all her studies, throughout her time at school. She trained every day from 7am to 9am before school and focussed on her studies after school. “I worked really hard – I didn’t breeze through! From the start MHSG were very good, letting me have time off for tennis all the time, so that I could go to all the competitions. Teachers were great and would send me work, so there was always something to work on when I was away. That helped a lot!” Holly explained.

It’s clear that Holly is focussed and she recognises she’s made sacrifices along the way. It’s paid off, as Holly now has a tennis scholarship at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University. “They have a really, really good tennis team so I already knew about Vanderbilt before I got in touch with the head coach. Vanderbilt's very academic, so it's got the best of both worlds for me.” What are Holly’s plans for the future? “I want to get my degree.  After that I'm hoping to make it as a pro in my tennis career. That's the plan.  I get back when I'm 21, so that's quite a good age to start.”

Holly won the national championships for 16&U and 18&U in 2018 and was selected for Team GB in the Youth Olympics.  At the end of lockdown, she got to compete in a series of LTA tournaments for UK pros, some of them televised. “I entered as many tournaments as I could. It was a great experience to play against really good players.  I held my own quite well. I had about two months without playing and then played about thirty matches in the space of two weeks!”

We wish Holly well and will be rooting for her as she progresses in her academic and tennis career. Good luck Holly!