What is the most important trait in selecting a favorite player?

November 29, 2020

As long as professional tennis has existed, fans have followed top players on and off the court. Some select a favorite player who looks like them. Others select a favorite player who plays like them. Roger Federer and Serena Williams are often top choices for both fans and fellow players. For some, personality influences which athlete fans idolize. An SB Nation article took the liberty to characterize personas based on favorite players. Some descriptions were harsh. A fan was labeled as a “complete failure” for selecting Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and another was stamped as a “brat” for choosing Serena Williams. Yet the fan who followed Federer was “charming.” For others, game style can be a factor in the selection of a favorite competitor. An all-court player may choose Roger Federer while a defensive specialist may side with Rafael Nadal. On the women’s circuit, offensive players often associate with Serena Williams while Simona Halep is popular among many counterpunchers. Other attributes, such as fashion sense and country of origin, may also influence this choice. The process of selecting an on-court idol is more complex than we may realize. I am left to consider… What is the most important trait in selecting a (more…)

Leylah Fernandez

November 26, 2020

“I started playing tennis on a recreational level. At age 10, I decided to compete and become a professional. My dad was my coach but is new to the tennis world since he was a soccer player. My dad surrounded us with other coaches who understood our philosophy, style and game. I never felt pressure from my dad to play sports or do anything in life. He gave me the green light to make my own decisions and introduced me to many different activities. I played baseball, soccer, volleyball and ran track.  However I loved tennis and once I realized there were Junior Grand Slams, I set a goal to win one. Last year, I reached the Junior Australian Open final and was disappointed to lose. A few months later, I won the Junior French Open and became the first Canadian player in seven years to capture a Junior Grand Slam. This year, I started playing on the WTA Tour.  It is difficult to balance tennis, school, and friends. When I started playing tennis, I was in regular school. I had friends and teachers who supported me but I constantly traveled to compete. I missed moments in my friends’ lives so it (more…)

Thiago Seyboth Wild

November 19, 2020

“I grew up in a small town in southern Brazil. At age 5, my dad taught me to play tennis. He tried to play on tour. He played challengers and the qualifying draw at the French Open. He coached me until age 14 when we moved to Rio de Janeiro. In Rio, I worked with a local coach for three years. In 2018, I won the US Open Junior title and started working with the former Brazilian Davis Cup captain who is still my coach today. I have a secret passion for Harry Potter. I have Harry Potter tattoos on my body. I have the Golden Snitch, Hermione’s eyes, the Forbidden Forest, and Hedwig’s head. I started watching the movies when I was 14. Harry Potter taught me to surround yourself with people you love and trust. In 2015, I realized that tennis is what I wanted to do with my life. The tennis court was the only place where I could drown out all of the world’s problems. That same year, my parents decided they didn’t want me to play tennis anymore. My mother wanted me to go to medical school and become a doctor like everyone else in (more…)

Simona Halep

November 12, 2020

“In 2014, tennis changed my life. I played in my first Grand Slam final at the French Open. No one in Romania had reached a Grand Slam final since 1978. Emotions exploded and everyone had high hopes for my future. They started to believe I could win a Grand Slam. I became popular overnight. People recognized me on the streets and asked for pictures and autographs. This was a big change and was tough to manage but I learned many things during this time. I tried to enjoy the attention but it was stressful because it took a lot of energy. I did not want to lose focus on my career. I tried to find a balance. I was generous and open with fans but stayed focused on the hard work needed to earn results on court. At first, I felt I had to show the world I could keep winning. This feeling motivated me to improve every day but was always in my mind. Over the past few years, I have improved in the way I deal with both negative and positive aspects of pressure. I embrace pressure after a big win. I face the pressure and try not (more…)

Rajeev Ram

November 5, 2020

“My father passed away April of 2019. In 2018, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I found out the day I got home from the Australian Open. Chemotherapy is one of the worst things you can see somebody go through. It is almost worse than the disease itself, especially with pancreatic cancer because the survival rate is so low. You have to decide if you want to go through treatment or just live as well as possible for as long as you have to live. You face this situation only in your wildest dreams. I am an only child and my father and I had a great relationship. I was never forced into tennis. It was always my choice. Until age 12, my dad and I played tennis together. He would come home every day from work and we would go out to the local high school courts and play. My tennis had a special place in his heart and when the sport became my career, my dad was proud. Our father-son activity turned into my job which is pretty rare. After he was diagnosed with cancer, tennis did not matter as much. I won my first Grand Slam title (more…)