I have always loved tennis. I watched it a lot as a kid and began to play it in my later grade school years (although never as a varsity sport). A few of my other cousins played tennis and some made names for themselves locally or as All-Americans. So you can say that the sport is somewhat in our blood.
I had a hand-me-down racket and while my dad played pelota, I would go to the nearby tennis court to play. But that was a problem because I had to choose between football and tennis. All my friends played football so that made the decision much easier. Still I watched and watched every chance I could. I grew up a John McEnroe fan and later switched to Pete Sampras. When Roger Federer came along, I watched him a lot. Although Novak Djokovic is my current fave, I still watch Federer every time he plays.
Years ago, I began to play tennis again but as a form of recreation and exercise and never really competitive. I was also urged by Jimbo Saret who I had become friends with (meeting his sister Jen was a thrill too) to start playing again. I was nursing a foot injury that had me totally stop playing basketball and I just preferred to trade serves and volleys with others while never really running myself ragged. I use a Wilson, the exact kind that Roger Federer uses. I still have my rackets and hope to get back to playing a little more regularly.
A few weeks ago, I learned that one of my nephews has taken to the game as a youngster and is doing well in the SoCal. Then my cousin broke the news that he was going to be in a television commercial with none other than Roger Federer. I wanted to do a story on my nephew, Bryce Pereira, but figured I’d let him tell it himself.
Here’s what Bryce told me:
Hi Tito Rick! Thanks for taking an interest in my tennis! Here are the answers to the questions.
I got into tennis because of my dad. He played Davis Cup for his country (Singapore) and he brought me into it. When I was born, my dad put a tennis ball in my little hands so I could and feel and try and hold it. So you can say that he got me into tennis at an early age.
I am a member of the Wilson Junior National Team. I have represented the SoCal section in numerous national events. I have won numerous local tournaments and have several national titles as well (too many to name because I have been playing tournaments since I was six years old).
Roger Federer is my idol. I have been watching him my whole life and have studied his game with my dad for hours on end. I have modeled my game after him and I have always been amazed on how flawless his game is.
I did four Wilson commercials last year and they invited me to a private meet and greet with Federer last year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Last month, I got a call from Tracy Almeda-Singian and she asked if I was available to do a TV commercial that would be filmed in Indian Wells. Tracy is the Tennis Hard Goods Marketing Manager for Wilson Sporting Goods. She is a Filipino former professional tennis player and I got to know her last year when she used me for the four videos I did for Wilson. I jumped at the chance to do the commercial without even knowing that Federer was going to be in it because I had so much fun filming the videos last year.
When Tracy told me that Federer was going to be in the commercial, I was astounded. I was really honored to be asked because Wilson chose only four juniors out of all the juniors they sponsor worldwide. Tracy told me everything had to be confidential and it was so hard to keep it a secret because I was so excited.
The shoot was really fun. I was so shocked at how down to earth Federer was. He was just a regular guy. When I first started hitting one-handed backhands with him, I was so tense and cautious because Federer was on the other side of the net. I heard Tracy call, “cut” and call me over. She told me to just have fun and let loose. So that is when I started ripping one-handed backhands with the greatest player to play tennis. The commercial will be released worldwide and will be out either before the French Open or before Wimbledon.
Representing Wilson is an honor. I have been using Wilson since I was eight years old and have fallen in love with the brand ever since. Wilson is an amazing company and their products are like no other and the people at Wilson treat me like family. I’m very lucky.
My goal is to be the best tennis player I could possibly be. I try to expect something from myself on the court everyday. Tennis requires a lot of hard work and dedication and I still have a lot to learn, but I love it.
Here's one of the four videos Bryce cut with Wilson last year.