Hannah Berner

September 29, 2019

September 29, 2019 “When I was around nine years old, I told my parents I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I played all sports but there’s something in tennis where being alone out there and improving felt so fulfilling. I loved just moving my body, and honestly it helped me as a hyper kid, to stay sane and be successful in other parts of my life. I’d probably be a murderer if I didn’t hit a tennis ball. Joking of course. By 14, I was ranked top 15 in the nation and I was told that if I wanted to go pro, that I would have to go to Florida. I think when I got there I started feeling pressure because of the money my parents spent to send me there. I started to lose touch with the love of the game. It just started to feel like I needed to win and be successful. I lost touch with the journey and was focusing on the results. I think a lot of tennis players are perfectionists. We’re all high-functioning, high-performing anxious people. I’d get the yips and lose my second serve for two months at a time. After (more…)

Heather Watson

September 26, 2019

September 26, 2019 “When I was 22 I had glandular fever, which is mono. People go through things much worse, but this was one of my toughest moments because I was at my career high, at the time, of 39 in the world. I remember at the Australian Open, I was just so tired and I could not be asked to walk on for my first round match. The match before me was one of those where you just don’t know when it’s going to finish. I literally warmed up with my fitness coach for an hour just trying to stay warm. I eventually got on court and was down 3-1 in the first set and already cramping. I’m like, ‘For f**k sake.’ I thought it was because my warm-up was too long. I knew I didn’t have enough energy, but at the same time, I’m thinking it is only 3:1 and I’ve just had pre-season, this is not normal. I get down 6:1, 3:1 and called for the doctor. I told him I couldn’t do this and he gave me some sugars and electrolyte drinks and pushed me to keep going. I kept the points as short as possible (more…)

Karim Maamoun

September 22, 2019

September 22, 2019 “It was a big surprise for me as no one in my family ever had it, but about 10 years ago I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I loved the sport and didn’t want to quit, but I had to take a step back and take care of my health first. I followed a strict diet and constantly monitored my blood sugar level. Then I started taking daily insulin injections to control it. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it was my only hope for a professional career. This condition seemed to me to be an aberration, something to be ashamed of, so for many years I told no one, not even my closest friends. I suffered low sugar comas a few times and one such time was with my friends, but they didn’t know what to do. Consequently, I had to tell them my secret and how they could help me if I went through another of these episodes. Recently, I started using glucose monitoring sensors that are used without finger pricking. These are not available in Egypt, so I can only get them from abroad and have to make sure I always have sufficient amount. (more…)

Shawn Hatosy

September 19, 2019

September 19, 2019 “I am a huge fan and I’m confused why this sport doesn’t feel like it’s growing. I look at things like, even just doubles, and how limited the coverage is. I personally, when I found out Serena and Andy Murray were playing mixed doubles, to me, that’s like the Super Bowl. You couldn’t even find it on TV. You had to get ESPN plus. To me that just blew me away. I was introduced to tennis pretty young because one of my neighbors had put a court in his backyard. I was an athlete. I played soccer and basketball. I’m a fast guy who was able to get by on no fundamental base at first. In Charleston there are a lot of public tennis facilities that anybody can play on. It’s a big tennis town. I was there for a year before I walked into this tennis center and took a lesson. I’m 43 now and I’ve been playing tennis three or four times a week ever since that day, I just caught the bug. I started intros and started doing some clinics. I just improved rather quickly. I don’t think I sought out tennis but it (more…)

Miranda Hart

September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019 “Tennis means a huge amount to me. I dreamt of being a pro and could have been good but life and injury conspired against me. It gives me more reason to be inspired by those who dedicate their life to follow their tennis passion and make it on to the tour, at whatever level. I am moved, inspired, excited and challenged when I watch tennis players. The mental resilience to be out there alone, the pressure at the top and the struggle at the bottom are extreme. Certain matches and players have had a big impact on my life in gathering courage, believing in myself, staying in the moment, keeping fit or to just be full of deep joy watching the sheer skill on display. There are many reasons but I think principally, because it’s a sport that is a battle of the individual, it’s paradoxically uniting. You feel empathy for players as you know how emotionally tough it must be, as well as physically. You empathize because every one of us has felt pressure, exhaustion, aloneness and stress, whatever our circumstances. We all struggle. Tennis players have to deal with so much, whether we recognize it (more…)

Fabrice Santoro

September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019 “Traveling was really the reason I had to stop. Even with the incredible fun I had on court when I was like 40 in the world I felt a need to change into a different field. On one side I feel lucky to be able to travel around the world and see different cultures, and on the other side it was just tiring. From New York to Tokyo and then Moscow, in one month, it’s three different worlds that you have to get used to. There’s a real chance that we never have a normal life. After 21 years on the tour, I couldn’t imagine seeing a suitcase in my living room any longer. I just wanted to be home. I’m not sure the crowd is always able to see the difference between a good and great match, but they can see the difference between someone having fun and someone not happy to be there. People come and watch my matches many times because they want a show. They came to forget their work for a few hours, to forget their problems. If they look at us and get a feeling that we are not happy to (more…)

Marcos Baghdatis

September 10, 2019

September 10, 2019 “I left my house when I was 14 and went to an academy in Paris, without my parents, all alone. I was staying with a family that was hosting me. This was the most difficult thing that I ever did. I had patches where I didn’t see my parents for about 10 months. Not only did I leave my parents but also my childhood friends and people that I grew up with. The toughest thing was not being around the ones I loved. I wanted to be a professional tennis player more than anything and was willing to sacrifice it all for my dream. Andre Agassi was my idol and after watching him win a Grand Slam it became my dream to be on tour and win a slam. Leaving home and being alone in Paris helped me start to understand what it really takes to be a champion and the sacrifices that are needed to become a professional athlete. It definitely wasn’t easy for my coaches. They knew they had to work on more of my mental side. They pushed to keep me happy and keep me going in tough times, which my host family helped (more…)

Alex De Minaur

September 8, 2019

September 8, 2019 “I had to be sidelined during my injury. I was expecting myself to come back at the same level, but ended up not being able to win a match for a fair bit. You start to doubt it all and ask yourself, “Jeez, what am I doing here? Why am I traveling?” It feels like there’s no positives. You’re traveling, away from home and you start to look at only the negatives. It takes so much effort to get yourself back into a positive head space going into the next tournament, until you lose first round again and it takes an even bigger toll. At Queens this year, after I lost my match, I didn’t want to get out of my room for a day. I finished at like 4:00 PM, went to Tescos and I bought five packets of lollies, chocolate and a Coke. I didn’t talk to anyone until midday the next day. That’s when you know you’re in a bad head space. The main thing that I realized is that anything that happens, on and off the court, highly affects you every time you play. I realized that I had to deal with my (more…)

Jason Collins

September 6, 2019

September 6, 2019 “As athletes, we’re trained since we are little to compete in all areas, but after my basketball playing days I wanted to compete in a more enjoyable way. One day, I was walking by these tennis courts and remember seeing this guy playing doubles; he looked like he was 80 years old. I was thinking to myself, that’s what I need, a sport where I can stay physically active for the rest of my life. If this 80 year old guy can play, I’m sure that I can get out there and not hurt my body. I went to Stanford with my twin brother Jarron, a year behind the Bryan twins, who we obviously became friends with— it’s a twin thing! I remember going to a match where they played in Los Angeles. My brother and I went and sat right behind Mike and Bob’s bench as we cheered them on. The Bryans were totally in game mode but that didn’t stop us from trying to get their attention. They kept ignoring us since they were so focused. I remember being that way too when I was playing basketball. It was very hard for someone in the (more…)

Coco & Breezy

September 3, 2019

September 3, 2019 “I think our end goal is building community. Through self-expression of producing music it becomes a universal language. If you think about it, you go to a party or any sporting event, it’s bringing people together. Through all the mediums in our life, we’re about building community and making it very inclusive for everyone. We want people to feel like they’re a part of something. Music and eyewear (Coco and Breezy Eyewear) are just a part of our lives and a part of our hearts that we get to share with the world. Sport has always been a part of us. We played basketball when we were younger and many Sundays we would watch football games with our father and rest of the family. I think sports for us, brought our family together. From a young age we were all for anything that brought people from different backgrounds together. It was really exciting to get the call to perform in Arthur Ashe Stadium. For me (Coco), tennis is life for my boyfriend. He grew up playing tennis and so it felt great that I got to be a part of something that my partner truly loves. He (more…)