Pierre-Hugues Herbert

March 31, 2020

March 31, 2020 “When I was 13, my dad stopped working to travel with me full time. There was already pressure from not being too wealthy and now my father wasn’t making money. People from my hometown thought we were crazy. They watched my dad stop quit his job as a coach at the club to travel with me and they didn’t understand it. When I think back, I see what they saw. All I know is we saw a small a chance to have what we have now and we had to go for it. Even if you are top in the world as a kid, the chance of becoming a top professional tennis player is beyond a small percentage. My family took some big risks that paid off and what I achieved is for all of them. We made many big decisions. Our family is five in total, with an older sister and younger brother. This decision my dad made affected everyone. Not only was my family making less money, now my father was away from my siblings for long periods of time. There was a lot of pressure on the whole family to also keep up with (more…)

Belinda Bencic

March 29, 2020

March 29, 2020 “It was a huge struggle to deal with the pressure of becoming top 10 in the world early on. I truly believe that once I made it there my body was forcing me to take some time off, that something wasn’t right, and that’s why I got injured. I think it all happened for a reason. I learned so much about myself and this sport while working my way back. I appreciate tennis more. I fully believe that if I didn’t get injured I would be completely exhausted in a few years. It would have only been a matter of time until I felt burnt out so I am happy it happened now. I was lucky to gain this experience while I was still extremely young and ready to fight back. I broke into the top 10 for the first time at St. Petersburg in 2016. Then soon came Miami where I got my first injury, which led to many others. A severe wrist problem came and I tried to avoid surgery while playing for nine months. April 2017, I finally decided to get it done. I was out for about six months and my ranking dropped (more…)

Sebastiáo Hibon

March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020 “ I was born with a degenerative disease called Cystic Fibrosis. Things got ugly and I was forced to get on the transplant waiting list. Luckily, 9 months ago I received a double lung transplant. I am very grateful for this beautiful opportunity to be born again However, a double lung transplant isn’t easy and definitely not simple. It is an extremely complex procedure with a tough recovery. Incubation, IVs, some broken bones, 6 chest tubes, bronchoscopies, daily exams, rehab, half a hundred medicines, extreme food/hygiene cares, drug side effects, and the list goes on…I’ve had some post-transplant complications too. I had 2 rejections and I’m struggling with a bronchial stenosis which still prevents me from breathing well. Tennis is one of my biggest passions. In the middle of it all, I managed to get back on court and playing tennis as soon and as often as possible. I haven’t grabbed a tennis racquet since a year and a half before the transplant, except in my living room, just to feel the love for the sport in my hands. I stepped on the court just 2 months after the surgery, not playing but to just feel it (more…)

Barbora Strycova

March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020 “When I was 12, I had to make a decision between tennis and figure skating; I decided to go with tennis. It was my choice, not my parents. It’s not as easy as people may think, it’s so freaking hard. It’s not always beautiful hotels or traveling to nice places. I was 16 and number one in the world in juniors. Within a year, I was #56 in WTA rankings and then everything went down. I went through tough times when I was 20. I was 20 years old when I got married. I was so in love. We only knew each other three months before marriage. We were together eight years before divorce. We both knew we were very young when it all started, but it was what we truly wanted. I was one of the few 20 year olds who rather have kids than travel and see players. I wanted to end my career and didn’t want to continue playing. I didn’t want to do it any longer. I couldn’t take traveling to different hotels every week and not remembering my room number. I was winning so often as a junior, and then it just (more…)

Daniil Medvedev

March 21, 2020

March 21, 2020 “There was always a little bit of a fight between my father and my mother. My mother wanted me to study more, which is why I was in school while playing tennis until I was 18. In Russia most professional athletes are done studying around 12 years old. It might have been the reason I wasn’t as good as my friends for some time, but I have no regrets. There were many tough times before the help from the federation and sponsors, when there wasn’t enough money. There were matches where I lost and all I was thinking about was the extra 100 dollars I could’ve made. The toughest period for me was the switch from juniors to pros. I ended at 13 in the world in junior tennis. I started to quickly understand, after playing futures, just how difficult it would be to get from 700 to 300 in the world. You needed to save as much money as possible while trying to win five or six futures as quickly as possible. At the time I was lost, didn’t know how to do that because there were so many other players trying to do the same (more…)

Harriet Dart

March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020 “I was studying forensic psychology at the time. I set goals of where I wanted to be after a year and if I didn’t move in that direction I was thinking of putting up the racquets. It gave me the option if things weren’t making me happy. After the first year of studying, it becomes more of a workload, so I had to make the choice of whether I would stick with studying or tennis. It was my father who originally told me to study and have a backup, not to be so close-minded. It helped me play much better at the time. It may not have been the best preparation to study at 2 am before matches but it took my mind off the pressure, made me feel relaxed on the court. As much as we all complain about tennis, I think everyone’s going to miss the feeling and emotions that come with being on court. It’s quite hard to replicate but it’s something that we don’t really talk about. It’s sad that girls don’t feel comfortable opening up. They feel that if they open up to one person it will get around to everyone in (more…)

Brittany Burgunder

March 8, 2020

March 8, 2020 “It’s a miracle that I’m holding a racquet. When I was 6 years old, my dad introduced me to the sport and I quickly fell in love with the game. Soon tennis turned into a way to escape my reality. I was constantly bullied at school and I developed terrible anxiety and depression. I tried to raise my low self-esteem by being the best at everything, including tennis. My need for perfection turned into insanity. I told myself that I had to be the #1 professional player in the world, or else I was a failure. My talent was noticed by many coaches and I was recruited to join a top tennis academy. Physically I was good, but my opportunities were ruined as I mentally self-destructed, resulting in an eating disorder when I was 13. I continued to play tennis, but any dreams of playing competitively shrank with every pound I lost. I hid behind a fake smile hoping no one would know my secret struggles, but that didn’t last long. I was forced to leave my freshman year of college due to the severity of my anorexia. My weight fell to 56 pounds and my parents (more…)

Daria Gavrilova

March 6, 2020

March 6, 2020 “ I still remember my first ever lesson, I was wearing a boy’s outfit because we couldn’t find anything else that looked like a tennis outfit. I went into my first lesson the coach told me to warm up by doing laps around the court. I refused to do it, “There’s no point because I’m not racing against anyone, I’m not just going to run for the sake of it.” I was about six and a half years old, useless unable to even catch a ball. I was a good visual learner and I eventually picked it up quickly. I remember when I used to go back home to Russia when I was younger and I’d always hit balls against the wall. The neighbors didn’t love it but they just had to deal with it. I moved to Australia end of 2013, when I was 18. I got my residency soon after and my passport citizenship after that. I started to officially begin playing for Australia in 2016. When I first moved to Australia, I had a busted knee, just after having torn my ACL. The first thing I did when I got to Australia was to (more…)