Hailey Baptiste

January 28, 2021

“At age four, My dad put a racquet in my hand. I picked up basketball a few years later but when the time came I chose tennis without hesitation. By eight, I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I cannot remember a time when I wanted to do anything else. I am in my second year playing a full tour schedule, one of the biggest differences is the social life. In juniors, players are focused on the court but spend most of their time off court together. On the professional circuit, players aren’t big on fellowship. I did not know many people when I entered the tour and everyone was much more focused on themselves. Over time, I found a good balance where I have fun but know when to get serious. I try my best to surround myself with the right people. I never questioned my path. Tennis is where I can express myself. In 2019, my mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. My parents did not tell me for three months. I was on the road playing tournaments and they did not want me to worry. When I found out, I did not know how to help (more…)

Why does tennis repeatedly get bageled at the movies?

January 23, 2021

Tennis courts have long been used for iconic photoshoots. Since its inception in 1976, the Tennis Girl poster sold over two million copies and became a pop-culture classic. The image is credited with helping to increase global awareness of the sport. Over time, the concrete space with white lines served as the backdrop for photographs featuring well-known names in sports fashion. Even Kylie Jenner took to the court for a recent shoot featuring a black Chanel workout set matched with a Chanel tennis racquet. The tennis court, however, has not enjoyed as much success in the movies. Wimbledon stars appealing leads Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany yet the film loses credibility as soon as the actors swing a racket. Match Point stars Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The film was nominated for an Oscar yet once again, the on-court scenes feature bad tennis. There has been a recent resurgence of tennis movies in Hollywood. Yet these practice and competition scenes are still plagued by an inauthentic portrayal of tennis action. I am left to consider…. Why does tennis repeatedly get bageled at the movies? (more…)

Natalia Vikhlyantseva

January 21, 2021

“At age 8, I played my first tournament. There were three players in the draw and I lost to all of them. The other two players got gifts but I got nothing. I cried a lot. My grandparents tried to cheer me up. They did not expect me to have such an intense reaction. I was young and did not understand the impact of results.  At age 13, my grandfather died. He was a big part of my life and this was the first time I lost someone I loved. It was a tough timeand nobody paid attention to me. For weeks, I did not want to study or go to practice. I would arrive at the courts and tell my parents I was too sick to play. I took time off from tournaments. For the first time, I got bad grades at school. When I had to move a test date, the principal said I needed to focus on school instead of tennis. My mom considered this possibility. I was bummed and promised her I could do both. My mom did not want me to have a tutor because it is easier to understand life when you study independently. When you do homework by yourself, (more…)

Ekaterina Alexandrova

January 14, 2021

“My parents gave everything they had so I could play tennis. They sacrificed money and property. I worked hard because it was a tough time for my family and I wanted to prove tennis was not useless. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to change our situation. I was not playing well and my results were pretty bad. It was tough because the tennis world is very unstable. I wanted to stop playing tennis and felt like my career was a waste of money because I was not good enough. I lost motivation to practice. It would have been easy to quit and find another job. In 2016, I was ranked 217 in the world but it was nearly impossible to continue on tour. I was the second alternate for the Wimbledon qualifying draw but was not sure if I should spend the money to travel. If I flew to London and did not play, I could no longer afford to practice. I decided to go all in and we flew to London for more money than we had. I got into the draw and was very excited. We could only afford to stay for (more…)

Aljaz Bedene

January 7, 2021

“In 2012, I broke into the Top 100. I did not make much money so every match was important, especially Grand Slam matches. I prepared to play the US Open qualifying draw. There was a rain delay and my stomach started to hurt. I assumed I was hungry. I won the match and we walked to dinner. I could barely walk and bent over with pain in my abdomen. I tried to sleep but it was painful so we went to the doctor and he said I had appendicitis. He told me not to play the next round. I did not want to know how appendicitis could affect my body because I needed to win. I needed to forget about the pain because I needed the money.⁣⁣I lost the first set and won the second. I had full body cramps at the start of the third set so I asked for a medical timeout. I would have defaulted but was not thinking straight because I needed the money. I had a match point and my opponent made an error but the line judge did not call the ball out. I lost the match in a tiebreaker. I was very disappointed (more…)