Paul Jubb

September 29, 2022

“My grandma raised me since I was four — both of my parents passed away when I was young. Because of the experience with my parents, I think I felt like I could deal with a lot of things on my own. There were times where maybe I wouldn’t talk to my family, but I would talk to Johnny, my coach. A lot of emotions come out on the tennis court and you can’t really hide from them. There were many, many times where I’d have conversations with him about anything and everything. He would really help my perspective on my life situation and give me tough love when I needed it. He would tell me things like, “It is what it is. You can’t change your situation, you can only make the best of it. You can either moan about it or put in– work extra hard to get those opportunities. I remember one time when I was 13, my grandma didn’t drive. Sometimes getting to training or getting to tournaments was hard. I had to start taking public transport and things like that from an early age. I remember one time I was moaning to him saying, “Why (more…)

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…)

Lin Zhu

July 27, 2022

When I start to play tennis at age 4 , literally nobody thought I could play tennis except for my parents, not even talk about pro tennis, because tennis is a minority sport in China, we only have one tennis court in my city when I started to play, we knew nothing about the sport, a lot people don’t even know what tennis is , but my parents believed I can do something, so I believe in myself , and I’m still here, chasing for my dream. I remember when I turned pro from junior at age 16 , and it didn’t going well for about 2 years , that I don’t have enough money to travel, or get a better coach , my ranking stayed at 500 for almost 2 years, nothing improved, I felt like maybe I can’t play tennis ,I’m not good enough, I think maybe it’s time for me to do something else, like go to college in US, so I spoke with my parents and the Federation, they respected my decision but hoped I can try one more time, give it my all and have no regrets. I accepted it. In the next year, my (more…)

Gastao Elias

July 20, 2022

“I think I have an interesting personality. I consider myself a calm person, but I have the ability to turn on the heat and be completely different when I’m on the tennis court. I think that’s what has helped me throughout my career, especially mentally.  I was pretty scared of not succeeding. I was very successful from a young age and always had good results growing up. It always felt like I had my whole country behind me, and that was pretty scary. At the time, Portugal had not had any big time players and I could feel the people back home hoping I could fill those shoes — that’s something a kid might not be able to handle.  I’ve had a few life-changing experiences, but moving to the US when I was 16 was the most significant one.  I had to adapt to a totally different lifestyle: Being away from family, starting to study in a different language, and living in a place known for the IMG Academy. I was breathing tennis pretty much every minute of my life. It was scary, but at the same time I feel like that was a very important period of my life.  (more…)

Timofey Skatov

June 10, 2022

“What differentiates me is enjoying tough moments. I didn’t realize it for a long time, but a few weeks ago it became clear to me.  There are some points during the match, for example, it could be 5:5 40:40 in the third set after 3 hours on the court and people start to feel really tight and nervous. In this moment, you have to challenge yourself to see how strong you are. When your head probably isn’t working well, you have to push yourself to do work and do whatever it takes. In these moments, to me, you really feel alive and everything makes sense.  In 2017 I became number one in the Juniors and had to play my first junior Australian Open — it was a disaster. This was the first time I had to face pressure, but I didn’t know this at the time. Looking back, the most interesting thing was that I was the main person putting pressure on myself. Yes, there were definitely people who said “This is your year, I hope you will win” but the main guy who wanted it was me. And it was a really bad joke.  Even making QF this year, (more…)

Jule Niemeier

May 19, 2022

“I’m not scared of not being successful, but there will always be ups and downs in a career and you have to be mentally prepared for that.  At the age of 15, I made the decision to move somewhere else to have the chance to become a professional tennis player. That was definitely the most difficult and painful decision I had to make because I loved to be at home with my family and friends. Before I moved away from my family I was homesick and didn’t enjoy traveling which made it even tougher for me to take the step.  Fortunately,  it was the right decision and was crucial to develop and grow as a person because I had to overcome some tough years with a lot of injuries and physical problems.  Last year changed my perspective. I started playing my first WTA events and did well, I played semis in the WTA 250s in Strasbourg and Hamburg and almost qualified in Wimbledon in my first GS appearance. I think my game style differentiates myself from others because I’m playing more like a men. I feel comfortable at the net, I’m using the slice and I’m trying to be creative (more…)

Demi Schuurs

March 17, 2022

“When I’m asked what differentiates me from other tennis players, I don’t think I even have to explain. If you know who I am or if you’ve seen me on the court, it’s obvious. I am myself and I don’t care what other people think about me. I have short hair, and I wear men’s clothes most of the time. I know that you don’t see it that often on the tour, but I’m happy with who I am.  Because I’ve been playing for 25 years now, more or less, there’ve been so many life-changing moments in my tennis career — it’s hard to pinpoint just one moment. A career is a process and so many things happen over that span of time. I do have to say, though, it was a nice feeling once I started to earn more money from playing, so I was not dependent on other people any more. That was a great feeling to be financially independent, so of course that changed my life.  There is always pressure in life for everyone, no matter your career. You always work hard to achieve your goals, so if you get close to reaching these, then you feel (more…)