Moalboal’s Neil Harvey Gador won his first tile in Canada in his second try, ousting the tournament’s top seed in his first match on his way to ruling the ACE Tennis’ All Canadian Adult Event last Sept. 4 in Milton, Ontario.
The 29-year-old Gador, who has been based in Canada for the past four years, drew a bye in the round-of-16, before digging deep in the quarterfinal round against No. 1 seed Troy Thompson, 2-6, 6-0, 10-5.
“I was still adjusting in the first set. I mostly played in clay courts and the sudden switch to hard court, which has more pace compared to clay, made it hard,” said Gador. “During the third set super-tie breaker, I was able to win because of consistency. I tried to set the tempo of the match instead of playing to his style and I think it eventually broke him.”
Gador learned his tennis under the tutelage of his father Jake in the clay court of the Moalboal Parish Tennis Club.
“It was my father who encouraged me to pick up a racquet and who started training and coaching me,” said Gador, who played for Pope John XXIII seminary in high school and San Carlos Seminary in college.
“I played in the Milo Olympics in Cebu but had no luck in the first round. After that, I didn’t join other tournaments in Cebu until I moved to Canada,” he said.
Just like in Cebu, he didn’t have much luck in first tournament in Canada, losing in the second round of the Credit Valley Men’s Tournament.
It was a different story in his second stint. He brought home his first trophy.
In the semifinal, he turned back Jianchu Huang in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2, to setup a date in the final with Christ John Purkis, who ousted second seed Harsh Preet Singh, 6-3, 6-2, in their final four encounter.
“I believe my biggest strength in tennis is being able to adjust to the opponent’s weakness. I trust my groundstrokes and techniques but in competitive matches, it comes down to who is able to capitalize on those weaknesses and score points around it,” he said.
In the battle between the players who ousted the top seeds, it was the Moalboalon who got the edge, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
His win got him to 200.80 points and at No. 274 in the MS-Level 3.0 in the OTA Canadian National Rankings-Adults (36-2022). Gador’s next stint is the Caledon Fall Colours 5.0 on Oct. 7 to 10.
“Being an immigrant, tennis played an import role in building my social life. I would have not found great friends if not through this sport. It helped build my confidence, not only on my game but socializing as well,” he said.
His coaching style was fun but a bit rought but eventually, my brother and I learned the basic things…It’s my first ever singles trophy and I think I made my papa proud of it.Neil Harvey Gador.