From runway to NCAA
Former New Face contestant aims to become a tennis pro and represent Singapore one day
She's tried her hand at volleyball, baseball and football, and even auditioned for The New Paper's New Face competition in 2012, when she was 14.
But, through it all, Runsi Patro knew that tennis was always her first love, and she was going to make a career out of it.
The 18-year old recently took up a scholarship to study and train at the St Francis College in New York, United States, and hopes to play for Singapore one day.
While she holds Indian citizenship, she has represented Singapore on the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) Junior Circuit from age nine to 12 as a permanent resident, and plans to apply for Singapore citizenship in the future.
"My plan was to go (professional) after these four years here in college, so I can focus more time on my tennis then, at least after earning my degree," said Patro, who just began a four-year degree programme.
"I'm planning to apply for my Singapore citizenship, if I get it before my four years in the US are up, I'll be representing Singapore immediately (in my pro career)," added the teenager, in an interview with The New Paper last Thursday.
The Novak Djokovic and Garbine Muguruza fan, an alumnus of the United World College of South East Asia here, has represented her country of birth only once, in a local tournament, and added that she has a stronger affinity for Singapore.
Patro said: "It would be very meaningful for me to represent Singapore and gain a citizenship here.
"I've stayed in Singapore my whole life and I am more attached to it than India, it would be nice to see Singapore excel in more sports and if I could make that happen with an opportunity granted, it would be great."
She hopes her collegiate experience, especially from playing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competitions, will give her invaluable experience in her journey towards a professional career.
I hope to step into the Women's Tennis Association circuit eventually but I'd like to play in the ITF circuit first if possible.Runsi Patro
"I hope this is a step into the pro circuit for me; the collegiate tennis tournaments are very similar to what the pro circuit is like so I do hope I get enough exposure.
"I hope to step into the Women's Tennis Association circuit eventually but I'd like to play in the ITF circuit first if possible."
Patro was introduced to tennis when she was six, and ventured into the junior circuit three years later.
She topped the Junior rankings locally at age 11, but stopped playing a year later because of an elbow injury.
During this time, she ventured into team sports, such as baseball and touch rugby, and was even the youngest contestant in TNP's New Face contest to make it to the second round.
"For The New Paper's New Face competition, it was just a short stint," she recounted.
"Modelling has never been on my mind as a career; my mum saw an advertisement for the competition in the papers and suggested I try it out so I went down with her.
"I happened to get into the next round and I was the youngest, and it was great, but tennis has always been my No. 1."