SAN DIEGO – Ivan Thamma grew up in City Heights, a neighborhood with high crime and public safety issues. Instead of succumbing to the environment, he picked up a racket at the age of 5 and developed a healthy passion for tennis.
"The neighborhood I grew up in wasn't the greatest," said Thamma. "There was a lot of crime. Tennis got me in the safe zone and it really brightened my future."
At 9 years old, Thamma earned a scholarship to practice at the Barnes Tennis Center in Point Loma. He credits that experience for his continued growth in the sport.
During his high school career at Point Loma, he enjoyed accomplishments including becoming a two-time National High School All-American and winning the USTA National Hard Court Championships in the boys 16U doubles.
The 18-year-old earned a scholarship to UC Davis where he will continue his tennis journey.