Karthik Anand is well on his way to reaching his dream of playing tennis on the professional circuit and becoming a role model for aspiring young athletes from India. But when his playing days eventually end, Anand will be prepared for a career as a coach because of his education from the United States Sports Academy.

A native of New Delhi, India, Anand is the Academy’s latest Student of the Month. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Sports Science degree in sports coaching while living and training at the Walter Grunfeld Tennis Academy in Barcelona, Spain. There, he has worked his way up the ranks in tennis with his eyes set on qualifying for International Tennis Federation (ITF) play and eventually becoming a regular on the ATP Tour.

Like most Academy students, Anand has a busy schedule working and training for his tennis career.

“I was looking for an online program that would fit my schedule, and the Academy has been amazing in that respect,” Anand said. “The Academy is very personal, specifically for being 100 percent online. I have regular and wonderful interactions with faculty and staff. They have become some of my greatest friends because I feel like I can really communicate and interact with them.

“It is hard to pinpoint one favorite class because I have enjoyed every class I’ve taken at the Academy. I appreciate the flexibility and that my professors are willing to work around my schedule. And I love that I’m able to interact with them and they are very responsive when I reach out to them with questions or issues. The interaction with faculty and staff has been my favorite thing about the Academy so far.”

Anand, 21, has played tennis since age 8 when he stumbled upon the sport while attending a wedding at a tennis facility in India. By the age of 10, he told his parents he wanted to pursue playing tennis professionally as a career.

“Everyone knows that cricket is the top sport in India, but I do think tennis is growing there,” Anand said. “My goal is to become the most famous professional tennis player from India. I want to be a top 100 player so that other Indian athletes will want to follow my path. In India, you either become a famous cricket player or you study hard and go to school. I want to show that there are other paths in sports for Indian children.”

While he currently trains in Barcelona, Anand also spent five years being trained by coaches at India’s  Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy – High Performance Center. He has trained under Shankar Krishnaswamy – one of India’s finest coaches – Gaurav Natekar, the Ex-Indian Davis Cup Captain and an Asian Games Gold Medalist and Ashutosh Singh & Shalini Thakur, who both represented India between 2008-2010. In addition, he counts among his mentors Stefan Hermann, the German ATP player from the 1980s and 1990s.

As a player, Anand has had 8 tournament wins, 4 runner-up finishes and 11 quarter final standings in the last 3 years.

“My life’s ambition is to become a professional tennis player and contribute towards the development of tennis and sports in general,” he said. “I understand the hard work and sacrifices it involves – the long training hours, the arduous fitness workouts, a strict diet regimen and extraordinary mental discipline.”