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Belong, Believe, Achieve: tennis pro Dylan Gee pursues a passion for strength and conditioning

Sports Scholar Dylan Gee comes from a sporting family

'Belong, Believe, Achieve' is a series of profiles showcasing inspiring students and staff at the University of East London (UEL). Each week, we bring you a new story about someone achieving great things in our amazing community.

University of East London (UEL) Sports Scholar Dylan Gee has travelled the world in pursuit of his sporting dreams. 

A tennis player who has played on the professional circuit, Dylan enrolled at UEL in 2017 to study Sport and Exercise Science. 

As well as combining his studies and competitive tennis, he also finds time to work at UEL’s strength and conditioning centre, Aqua East. And he has combined all of his interests into a popular Instagram account (@DylanGee3) that has over 10,000 followers and showcases videos of him playing tennis and offering training tips.

Dylan said, “Since playing professional tennis I developed a passion for strength and conditioning. I’m interested in how the body works and how I can enhance my performance to be able to compete at the top level.”

Born into an athletic family – his New Zealand-born father was a keen rugby player and his mother a avid tennis player – Dylan played a lot of football as a youngster. But at the age of 13 he chose to focus on tennis.

He said, “I had a tighter group of friends at the tennis club and I enjoyed it more.  Being an individual sport I had a responsibility to play and compete for myself rather than that pressure from a team.”

He then went to America to play in three of the country’s biggest youth tournaments, in order to experience competing at an international level.  Although he was only 14 at the time, Dylan also wanted to visit American universities.

He said, “That’s when I had the idea that I wanted to study in the States on a tennis scholarship. I wanted to enhance my tennis, further my studies, but also experience life in a different country.”

On completing his ‘A’ levels Dylan enrolled at Jacksonville State in Alabama to study Marketing and Business Management. After studying there for two years he sought to transfer to another university so he could take his tennis to the next level, but scholarship opportunities were limited.

Back in London during the summer break, Dylan found someone at his local tennis club who was willing to sponsor him but who also asked Dylan to decide whether he wanted to play professional tennis or go back to university.

Dylan made the decision to turn pro, and his sponsor gave him enough money to play for a year and a half on the professional circuit.  

Dylan relocated to Germany to base himself at a tennis academy. When his sponsorship ran out, Dylan decided he wanted to return to academia. However, getting another scholarship in the US was no longer an option as he had spent time on the professional circuit.

He eventually got in touch with the head of UEL’s Tennis programme, Richard Buscombe, who explained to Dylan that a UEL sports scholarship would allow him to balance tennis competition and study.

And since arriving at UEL, Dylan has thrived.