Ivo Karlovic

December 31, 2020

“I have spent 41 years being a human. At age 6, I picked up a racket but did not like tennis. A few years later, I fell in love with the sport. I grew up in Yugoslavia during the war. A few players managed to leave the country but we did not have much money. There were months when we could not eat much or go outside because there were planes over our city and we had to seek shelter underground. I would practice whenever there was an open court. I also played basketball until age 13. I was tall and moved well so basketball coaches made me play against 18-year-olds but I did not like that. Perhaps I could have gone to the NBA. Starting at age 21, I spent three years ranked 300 in the world. I got down on myself because I saw my peers reach higher rankings. I did not have a coach so I traveled alone. I thought about quitting before I broke through on tour. In tennis, you cannot be realistic. You have to be a dreamer. When you are young, you are joyful and hope to be number one in the world. Then (more…)

Maria Camila Osorio

December 24, 2020

“Soccer runs in my family. Both my grandfather and brother played for Columbia in the World Cup. My dad wanted me to play a recreational sport so I asked him to choose between swimming, basketball and tennis. He chose tennis. I started to play and fell in love with the sport. At age 11, I left Columbia and came to Florida. I did not understand one word of English. I lived by myself for three years and did not see my parents often. It was tough to speak to the other players as there was a language barrier and we did not understand each other. Sometimes I wanted to go back home. My dad told me to stay because I wanted to become a professional player. This was my dream and I had to fight for it even though it was not easy.  I never thought about quitting tennis but I missed being back with my family. Sometimes I felt sad after losing a match or tired from training. But I had to keep going. For three years, I tried to win a Junior Grand Slam. I visualized winning the 2019 US Open. My family pretended to give me the (more…)

Pedro Martinez

December 17, 2020

“The most difficult part of my career was during junior tennis. At age 17, I had knee surgery and the doctors underestimated my recovery time. I did not play for nine months while I was living at the Spanish Tennis Federation. I was young and it was frustrating. I watched my peers leave for Junior Grand Slams while I stayed there alone. I wanted to go home but had to stay at the federation for school. I was not well. I did not have motivation to study so I would watch television all night until 3 or even 4 in the morning. I always had a good ranking but people said I would not make it on tour because I had bad character. In 2018, I thought about quitting tennis. I played Roland Garros and did not feel good about myself. I lost in the first round of the qualifying draw and blamed my coaches. That was the lowest point of my career. I said, “I have to change because I cannot continue like this and reach my highest level. Everyone around me is suffering as well.” People were speaking about me saying that I was too crazy and I (more…)

Jack Turley

December 10, 2020

MyBTR – “Removing my large intestine both saved and changed my life in tennis. People have heard of Crohn’s disease; I have something similar but less well-known called Ulcerative Colitis and needed surgery to stop a downward spiral. Steroid medication inflated my face to the size of my racquet head and chemical rescue therapy double-bageled my immune system. I passed early mornings in hospital watching Andy Murray’s first retirement at the Australian Open and felt just a little teary. A new trial drug kept me out of hospital to watch the French Open from home and I got back to teaching physics and coaching the school tennis program. I knew I was back to form when an earnest pupil said ‘Sir, you’re so good at tennis, why don’t you ditch the physics and coach full-time?’ By Wimbledon, the medication had stopped working and I was back in hospital. I can only apologise to the other patients for my outbursts of anguish as Roger missed his match point chances. Surgery to fit a stoma bag was the final option. Now I play with a constant risk of damaging my stoma or causing a hernia. A protective and restrictive hernia belt feels (more…)

Jonas Björkman

December 3, 2020

#LegendaryBTR- “One of the most difficult parts of my career was my confidence. I was too hard on myself and went through times where I would automatically lose matches. My ranking would drop because I put too much pressure on myself. I wish I could have handled those times better.  As a child, I was very shy. I sat in the back row at school. I had a modest personality. When I went on tour, I became more social because I had no choice. On the court, I was alone and off the court, I had to gain confidence speaking English. That helped me get to where I am today.  The tour is very different now. If you are a top player, you have an entourage. You probably spend more time with your team than your competitors. If you get wild cards into big tournaments and play well, you quickly break into the Top 100. Other guys have a longer path to the top. They start with lower-level events and gain confidence in themselves. These players become friends because they only have each other, they can’t afford to travel with their coaches.  After my professional career, I partnered with my friend (more…)