Elina Svitolina

May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020 “Compared to the other players, my journey has been gradual. I was always moving one step at a time, trying not to lose the momentum of improving my game. I played the $10,000 events, then the 25,000 events, and then slowly started getting into Grand Slams. Then I was playing on the biggest stages and trying to break into the Top 10 but I put too much pressure on myself. No matter what you are ranked, you always want more. When I was number 30 in the world, I thought, ‘If I am in the Top 10 I will be happy,’ but when I found myself in the Top 10, I was crying after losing matches. It never ends and it’s never enough. I learned to enjoy every match, even the toughest battles. I have been a Top 10 player for over three years now. It is important to maintain a consistent frame of mind and I have brought this to my game as well. When I was transitioning from juniors to the professional circuit, there was a lot of doubt. People expect you to improve more quickly and you compare yourself to other players who are (more…)

Michael Chang

May 17, 2020

May 17, 2020 “I think that there’s probably one thing I would change about my time on tour- my mentality. When you’re on tour, you have invincibility, to some degree. You don’t realize how quickly the time goes by. I think sometimes you’re out there playing and you’re thinking, ‘Okay, I’m done with this year. I have next year on the tour.’ I turned pro slightly before my 16th birthday. I retired just before my 32nd birthday. Those years just went by in the blink of an eye. Looking back, I could have enjoyed some moments a bit more, such as tournament victories. I think sometimes you win a tournament and if it’s a smaller tournament, you don’t really think twice about it. You kind of just say, ‘Okay, it was a great tournament, I won it. Next week.’ I probably would have taken more time to enjoy being ranked number two in the world. I also might have changed my mentality in certain aspects of training. Had I known that I was going to play professionally for over fifteen years, I probably would have approached training differently. Today, players on tour have great longevity thanks to how they take (more…)

Eden Silva

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020 “I was at a 10K in Italy, in 2015. I served and volleyed and went to turn. At that moment, I didn’t know. It was very painful, but we went to the hospital straight away, and they did an X-ray. They said it’s all fine. A few days later, I still wasn’t able to walk and I knew something wasn’t right. I had a MRI and they confirmed it was a full cruciate ligament tear. As I went back into the surgeon’s office and he told me– it sounds like a movie, but everything around me went blurry and I couldn’t— I didn’t hear anything he said after that.” My rehab went well, but then I had an ear infection. It was really swollen and infected. They had to operate on it. I was in the hospital with an IV drip because the infection got really bad. After they operated on it, I wasn’t able to sweat. I needed to keep the area dry and clean. I wasn’t able to train for three months after that. If it wasn’t for my family and friends, I think a lot of the time I just wouldn’t have even been (more…)

Corentin Moutet

May 10, 2020

May 10, 2020 “I left my parents’ house in the center of Paris, when I was 12, to practice in the south of France. It was a tough choice, even though I wanted to go, I needed my parents but was choosing to be without them. I didn’t know how to cook or clean but I learned. I have always been a part of the federation. I knew that was where I needed to play to practice with the best players. There is less of a focus on school and more on tennis. I knew from the beginning tennis was for me but I didn’t know just how difficult it would be to be away from home. My parents understood but disagreed with the decision. They were telling me I was too young, that I could find ways to play tennis closer to home. They were convinced by my team around me that this was the best option. The first few months were not great. In just a few weeks I broke my leg. They had an obstacle course as a team building activity for all the kids and I fell off the tree. I was just there not able (more…)

Boris Kodjoe

May 7, 2020

May 7, 2020 “I grew up in Germany. My mom’s German. My dad’s from Ghana, West Africa and he put a racquet in my hand when I was three. He started teaching me really early, but my parents split up when I was five. It almost became like a source of pain for me because tennis was my father’s sport. I remember being on the court with him, him being quite pushy and strict about the way I was hitting the ball and it caused me a lot of anxiety on the court because I didn’t want to disappoint him. Every time I hit the ball in the net I’d feel myself freeze up because I could feel him get mad at me for making a mistake. I played all the other sports like soccer and basketball too. In Germany, even in the academy system, you are encouraged to play a lot of different sports, and I did. Tennis became an outlet for me. It helped me deal with my anger and the stress from my parents divorce as well as the pressures of being the only black boy in my community next to my younger brother. I was bullied (more…)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

May 5, 2020

May 5, 2020 “Growing up, tennis was taking up more time in my life than anything else. That was my only focus. The most difficult part to deal with is trying to keep up good relations with my dad. It wasn’t easy to have him as a coach growing up. He was very strict, there was a lot of fighting on and off the court. He did help me get to where I am today by pushing me to the limit. It is tough to find the balance between having him as my father and coach. Then I made the biggest decision at 15 years old to move to France. That is when Patrick Mourotoglou took over my coaching from 15 to 18 years old. I hd to learn a lot on my own during this time. It helped me become the person I am today. I wanted to prove myself to my parents, specifically to my dad, that I can make them proud. I am fortunate that even through the strictness I learned a lot from my parents. I feel that I get smarter and far more mature with each challenge that comes my way. That’s the beauty of (more…)

Fabio Fognini

May 3, 2020

May 3, 2020 “The worst time of the year for me is between December and January when I am really close to flying again. I have a long pre season, see friends, some good dinners, and then I get back on the road. I always get sick days before I am about to leave. Sometimes a fever or a cough, and I just tell myself it is going to be okay. it has been like this for about 10 years. It happens because after having the chance to be at home, close to family and friends, it is almost like I am part of another life. I am still practicing but to have the chance to catch up with everyone doesn’t really happen during the season. I remember my first child being eight months old, and Flavia and I were in Miami again for pre season. That time was unique. I was about to fly out to Australia and I began to cry like a baby. I just couldn’t imagine leaving them. I had moments in my career where I thought about taking some time off. The first time was not by choice. I was 18 years old and my (more…)