As filming for the upcoming Ascot Manor documentary comes to an end, we were eager to chat to one of its stars, 16-year-old Maxi Duncan who is on her way to becoming a tennis sensation. The documentary, shot by Ascot Manor’s Director of Photography Kevin Losani at Newport Beach, California, goes behind the scenes and interviews former players as well as current players and their parents on the daily struggles and financial commitments associated with the competitive junior tennis tournament circuit. Something all too relatable for many young tennis hopefuls in the Junior circuit.
The mission of Ascot Manor is highlighted throughout, and fully supported by Maxi herself, who lives in nearby Irvine. Currently a blue chip player who is ranked 12th in the world, she started playing tennis at 7 years of age, meaning she has been playing for more than half her life. After finishing second grade, her father decided to have her homeschooled so she could focus more on the sport. However, Maxi’s homeschooling by no means means slacking, with her days being jam-packed, with a mix of both school and tennis training throughout the day. Her commitment to the sport brings her all the way out to the USTA Training Centre located around 1 hour away in Carson. It’s evident that Maxi’s passion for tennis hasn’t hindered her academic ability, having a 4.0 GPA last semester and has been on Honor roll every semester since 9th grade.
When it comes to the game itself, Maxi prefers using the forehand shot, much like her role models Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams. Like them also, Maxi’s goal is to be ranked in the top 10 in the world in the WTA, something that seems all to doable given her track, or should we say court, record! Having competed on tennis courts around the world, including the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and recently Mexico, where she competed in the Cancun Pro 15k tournament in March, Maxi has an abundance of experience under her belt.
Taking a look back on previous wins, the young tennis star won 4 Championship titles in 2012, including the 110th Annual Southern Cal Junior Sectional Girls 10 and Little Mo’s Sectional Championship. In 2014 she became a finalist for the USTA National Clay Court Championship in the Girls’ 12 Doubles, followed by winning gold at the USTA National Hard Court Championship in Girls’ 14 Doubles in 2016. Looking back on her wins, Maxi says her biggest challenge to date was the championship round of the 2018 Costa Mesa Women’s singles tournament, when she struggled during the match but battled her nerves to win the title. It’s this determinant streak within her that makes it no wonder that top universities such as Stanford, USC and UCLA are taking notice and showing interest, making her aspirations of going to college and going pro all the more realistic!
Make sure to check out Maxi in the upcoming Ascot Manor documentary being released soon!