Alizé Lim

June 19, 2019

June 19, 2019 “I started playing professionally in the summer 2010, after finishing university and turning 20. I didn’t have any family member pushing me or traveling with me, this was my own choice because I loved tennis so much. I finally had more time to train and travel and went up pretty fast to around 280 WTA. I thought ‘great this is going to go fast’. Two years later I was still in the exact same spot. I was traveling alone every week, struggling to improve as I had no one to watch my matches and tell me what to work on. The academy I trained at was charging 1500€ for one week of coach salary on tour, meaning 6k a month, plus expenses. There was no way I would ask my parents to pay that. My boyfriend at the time was top 30 ATP and told me those words I will never forget, ‘Alizé, no one can make it alone, and if I’d been alone, I would still be playing National tournaments by now.’ He fought for me and found a sponsor so I could finally travel with the coach he thought was best for me. I was (more…)

Bob Ryland

June 16, 2019

June 16, 2019 “I was the first black professional tennis player & today I turn 99. I say it is no big deal, no cause for celebration, just another year. There are many things I can not do now, but I accept that. I enjoy doing what I can do. I have played tennis all my life: Played on my high school team in Chicago and was a finalist in state singles. Played at Wayne State in Detroit and was one of the first black players to compete in the NCAA Championships and the first to reach the quarterfinals. In college I wasn’t allowed to eat in restaurants with my teammates. They would bring me my food on the bus, where I sometimes would sleep. I wasn’t bitter, all I wanted was to play tennis. After winning the American Tennis Association Mens’ title I was given a wild card to play at the USLTA Nationals (US Open) at Forest Hills in 1955, as one of the first few African Americans to play there. In 1959 I was invited to join Jack March’s World Pro Tennis Championships, becoming the first black pro player. When he was a kid, Arthur Ashe said (more…)

Dudi Sela

June 15, 2019

June 15, 2019 “It’s truly difficult to become a professional tennis from a small country like Israel. I didn’t have to deal with the army since I was an athlete, but most do. My family was always surrounded by this sport. My brother, who is thirteen years older than me played on tour. My parents were both working in a tennis club, where my father was a coach and my mother was a secretary. I loved every moment playing as a child. In the beginning it was a lot of fun, especially since I was successful from a young age. Each age group I played in, I proved I was the best in Israel. When I started to play ITF events I fortunately continued my success by becoming one of the best juniors in the world. I was one of the first juniors my age to become top 200 in the world. After the jump, I faced some issues. There were financial problems where my parents couldn’t afford the sport and we weren’t receiving help from the Israeli Federation. Combining the lack of money, I had a couple injuries that made it difficult. At this time I was around 20-21 (more…)

Ana Konjuh

June 8, 2019

June 8, 2019 “Ever since I was 12 I remember playing tennis with some kind of pain in my elbow. In order to continue my career I was taking painkillers until one doctor suggested surgery. After finishing a successful junior career at 16, I had to put my professional career on hold for rehab. It actually went well and I was pain free for 3.5 years. Other injuries were holding me back in the meantime, such as a herniated disc in my back and a twisted ankle. These were nowhere near the problems my sister faced. She had some kind of brain inflammation where they weren’t sure if she would pull through, but with a miracle she did. During this difficult time tennis kept me going. Little did I know the problems with my elbow were just starting. I was at a career high of 20 in the world in 2017 and maybe things were going too well. I woke up one morning during a tournament in Canada and couldn’t extend my right arm. After returning home, I found out I needed another surgery where they would shave the bone down and clean the joint. My positivity kept me going (more…)