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Love for tennis and cinema

Love for tennis and cinema
Kiran Dev poses at the tennis courts at Pierce College on Friday, March 25, 2016 in Woodland Hills, Calif. Dev is a film major and plans to spend a year in India to pursue filmmaking. Photo: Travis Wesley

Students athletes often dream of making it as a professional athlete, which would catapult them into a lifestyle worthy of an MTV Cribs episode. But Kiran Dev is using his tennis talent to send him in a different direction.

Dev has his goal set to be a film director.

“If you look at becoming a pro tennis player versus becoming an actor or director in the film industry, only a small percentage of people in the world can do it,” Dev said.

Dev is originally from Chicago, Illinois and started Tennis Lessons at a young age.

“I started playing tennis when I was in 7th grade,” Dev said. “I was getting a little bit too chubby, so I stepped out on court as a way of getting a workout.”

Dev’s passion for the sport stretched beyond a weight loss program after being inspired to take his performance to the next level by one of his early mentors.

“Because of one coach, I actually fell in love with the game and I started competing in Chicago,” Dev said. “His name is Austin Solis, he played [division 1] tennis for the University of Illinois.”

“I watched him play and I was like ‘hey, I want to do what he’s doing,’” Dev said. “He definitely inspired me to pick up the racket.”

Along with the inspiration found from his prior coach, Dev also had family who inspired him to take to the court.

“My cousin was in the top five in India for tennis, so I guess you could say tennis runs in the family,” Dev said. “He was a lot better than me and he’s also one of my inspirations.”

“His name is Mangal, he played for the University of Hawaii at Hilo, h” Dev said. “He played division two tennis here,.” Dev said

Dev, knowing that his potential to become a professional tennis player was limited, sought to take his talents into the film industry.

“Every kid who starts playing sports, they want to play professional, which I couldn’t do,” Dev said. “By the end of my senior year in high school I realized my calling was film, so I wanted to concentrate on film and that’s why I picked Los Angeles.”

Deciding Los Angeles would be the location to start a career in film, Dev looked to increase his opportunities for success in Los Angeles by seeking a school who, along with film, also offered a program in tennis.

“When I picked Los Angeles, I said I might as well find a junior college that has a tennis team,” Dev said. “I was looking around all over Southern California and Pierce was the only junior college that had a tennis team.”

“It was one of the best decisions ever,” Dev said.

Along with finding an appreciation for the school, playing tennis and studying film at the college has helped Dev distinguish the difference in sports and the film industry.

“One thing about sports is, if you’re successful you’re going to climb the ranks and you’re going to become professional,” Dev said. “In film you can be the greatest actor or greatest director, but if you don’t have the right context it doesn’t mean anything, you’re not going to get the chance to perform.”

Reflecting on his time as an athlete at the college, Dev expressed his gratitude for the relationships he has built.

“This is my last season of tennis and I’m very fortunate to have worked with two great coaches,” Dev said.

Comparing his coach from last season, Rajeev Datt and his current coach, Long Dao, Dev can see the strong contrast in the coaching styles.

“Dao is the exact opposite of Rajeev. Rajeev has got that drill sergeant mentality, I like to call him fire, and I like to call Long, ice,” Dev said. “Long is very cool and he’s very simple. He likes to keep things very short, and he tells us what we need to do on court to win, so he’s a great coach.”

“One thing I have to mention about Long is he is a great role model for all of us,” Dev said. “Because he’s working full time, he’s coaching at Pierce and he’s getting his masters degree at California State University Long Beach.”

The tennis team practices at the Warner Center tennis facility due to eroded courts at the college, according to Dev.

“I wish they could do something about the courts, because the condition of the courts is terrible,” Dev said. “It’s very bad, we cannot play. It has gotten to the point where if somebody plays on those courts they could get injured.”