Serving up a winner's mentality to overcome the odds: Elysia Wan Abdul Rahman

Malaysian tennis athlete hopes her journey can inspire other young people and athletes in training from a young age, and she spends her free time giving tennis lessons to teenagers


Part of a golden generation of athletes emerging from Malaysia's tennis ranks, 20 year old Elysia Wan Abdul Rahman hails from Sarawak and first started tennis at the age of six, under her father’s guidance and strong influence as a former tennis athlete.

She reached a highest ITF Junior ranking of 768 in 2018 and was the highest ranked Malaysian tennis athlete in 2019, however she found herself missing opportunities to compete in many ITF Juniors due to a lack of financial support to fund her journey, which led her to seeking help for sponsorship online.

A part time model on the side, Wan still manages to find time to train at a high intensity every day, beginning with physical training in the mornings: weights and cardio for 90 minutes, followed by stretching and recovery (30mins).

This is followed by a 2 hour session on court every afternoon for six days a week, with only a day of rest. Besides her training routine, she also pays close attention to her diet which she believes is key in the life of a top athlete.


She reaped the rewards of her hard work and sacrifices in Hanoi this May, clinching her first SEA Games medal in the Women’s Doubles.

Coming up against more experienced opponents Wan put in a stellar showing, teaming up with five-time SEA Games medalist Jawairiah Noordin-Sharifah to defeat Philippines duo Marian Capadocia and Shaira Hope Rivera in a super tie-break 10-7 in the quarter finals, before pushing their Thai opponents to another super tiebreak in the semi-finals.


Wan credits her sister as her source of motivation, with the two usually motivating each other during competitions since childhood, but did not have the benefit of her support during the recent Games.

Wan hopes her journey can inspire other young people and athletes in training from a young age, and she spends her free time giving tennis lessons to teenagers.

She does her best to show positivity even in the most difficult of times, because for her a smile is worth more than a thousand words.


When asked what it meant to live uplifted, the 20 year-old replied: “It’s a way of life where everyday you surpass yourself in order to build, create your career.”

“Every day is a new fight and requires sacrifices, moments of tears but also of joy. Indeed tournaments and victories are rewards in sport, and it is with this that we build a future and a prosperous career,” she added.


“To live edified is therefore to build oneself mentally and physically to create a place at the highest level.”

Time will tell if Wan fulfills her potential at the highest level, but with a strong winner’s mentality to overcome adversity, we believe she will.

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