Andrea Vavassori

August 28, 2022

“My father was a Pat Rafter supporter, and I grew up watching his matches trying to emulate his type of game. When we were kids, we played on my grandfather’s synthetic grass court every weekend, dreaming to one day play on the real one. It was really tough this year when my grandfather passed away. I was with my sister playing a challenger in Ilkley, and we weren’t able to come back for the funeral. He was my first fan together with my parents — he didn’t miss a match during all my career. The first days were really bad, but thinking of him gave me strength, and being able to dedicate the main draw to him made me proud. I think I’m a positive person who believes a lot in the process and hard work. I had a normal growth path, finishing high school in my city and not playing many junior tournaments. I was slightly behind all the good players that were my age, but I have always believed in improvement and the strength of my team. This also helps me in more difficult times, when I have to be able to live with the failures and move (more…)

Stuart Duguid

August 18, 2022

“Probably the most impactful moment for me in tennis was when Naomi won the US Open in 2018. I had already been a tennis agent for 7 years or so by this stage, and had been to Slam finals before with other players, but the manner in which that final was played and the impact it had on tennis probably changed my life instantaneously. I thought I knew the job of a tennis agent inside out, but a global superstar athlete that transcends the tennis world is another one altogether. I feel like I remember my tennis life as before and after that match. I come from Scotland, and while this is not differentiating, I do find the influence of people from our country on tennis to be quite interesting for those of us of a certain age. I first played Andy Murray in a tournament called the Waverley Open when I was 16 and he was 12. He beat me 6-0, 6-0, but I took him to deuce in every game, honestly. Afterwards, I overheard him on a payphone telling his mum how rubbish I was. Judy had been a coach to my brother and I, and had assured (more…)

Katie Volynets

August 10, 2022

“Being a tennis professional is something that was not part of the plan from a young age. I started to play because an American friend introduced it to my parents when they moved from Ukraine. They played on the weekends with my brother, who is almost 12 years older than me. One time, I got bored of my toys and asked my dad if I could try his racquet. I made contact with the first ball he threw me, and then tennis turned into my favorite activity.  Something that differentiates myself from other players is that I attended public school until 11th grade. Education is valued greatly by my family and myself, so the plan was to get a scholarship to college. I started to travel much more when I was 14, playing my first junior ITF events. This meant a lot of missed school, and when I came back home I had to miss practice to come to school after hours. Many people commented that I was falling behind in the tennis curve because I wasn’t homeschooled. By the time I was 16, I won a couple Grade 1 ITFs and tested my first professional tournament. I became sure (more…)

Alexander Ritschard

August 3, 2022

“The most painful experiences I’ve had off the court have definitely been the three surgeries I’ve had. I’ve had one surgery on my elbow and two on my shoulder. The one in my shoulder was called thoracic outlet syndrome. That’s when the first rib that’s located in your shoulder area is too tight and it constricts one of your main arteries, which means that blood can’t flow into your arm. My rib, from birth, was too tight and over years damaged my artery to the point where I, one day, was in the gym and my artery closed because it was so damaged that my arm got no more blood flow. It was a huge surgery and I got very lucky. Doctors were telling me they were very close to just having to amputate my arm, meaning tennis would’ve been out of the picture completely for me.Then, my lungs collapsed and filled with blood, and that’s where the third surgery came in.  I had some rough moments, and all of this happened during my second year of college. It was really, really brutal. I spent two months in the hospital. It was terrible, but I’m happy I got to keep (more…)