Marion Bartoli

January 26, 2023

#LegendaryBTR – “I won Wimbledon in 2013 and retired weeks later. When you win a Grand Slam, you are on top of the world and do not want to quit because you have finally gotten the reward of your hard work. My mind wanted to continue but my body could not play anymore. I devoted my whole life to compete with the best players in the world. The extra hours of practice and fitness took a toll on my body. I could not continue to play in pain. I wanted a Grand Slam so much that my mind pushed my body until I won Wimbledon. But when I finally won, I felt empty. I did not have any more resources to return to the court. It was painful because I could not capitalize on my victory. Luckily, I found fashion and design. I earned my fashion degree from Central Saint Martins in London which took my mind off the pain of not being able to play tennis. I have designed for Fila for a long time. My success off the court has helped me mentally erase my past identity as a tennis player. Without fashion, I would have fared worse (more…)

Jesper de Jong

January 20, 2023

“It’s pretty terrifying to think about not succeeding, because you always dream about doing the opposite.  Tennis has been the main constant in my life since quitting football when I was around 10. From then, everything just happened: Getting a better national ranking, then rising on the international junior ranking, playing junior slams. You’re a full-time player already at that point.  From 2018, I basically went pro, but it didn’t feel like anything changed in my ‘tennis life’. The only thing that slightly changed my perspective was the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. I went there with 30 other athletes from different sports and had the opportunity to see what they do. It was a big eye opener, in a very nice way, to see others’ dedication and commitment to their sport.  I think one of my biggest weapons is my work ethic, especially while training at home. I give my everything. I’m kind of a perfectionist, so I put pressure on myself to work hard, otherwise I don’t feel satisfied while laying in bed at night.  My challenger win in June 2021 was something that changed my expectations. I won one, and basically expected more and better results (more…)

Francesco Maestrelli

January 3, 2023

“I consider myself a truly ordinary guy, who takes pleasure in helping the people he loves. I don’t think I have any particular distinctive characteristics, but I recognize that I have an excellent conception of work, which I never want to escape out of the desire to improve more and more. Because of this, I’m also continuing to study outside of tennis, attending the faculty of economics and commerce. Off the court, there have been some painful moments. Recently, my grandfather was diagnosed with a tumor, which he is still living with today.  He is one of the people I love the most. Even if he’s under control, I have this constant fear that one day he may suddenly go away, without giving him all the joys and satisfactions he deserves, because for me he is a bit of my superhero. I’m not very worried about not being successful in tennis, simply because everyday I try to give 100% of myself to improve myself more and more.  I think this is the secret: I only think about giving my best, and what comes will be the consequence, without ever having regrets. The moment when tennis changed my life was my (more…)

Beatriz Haddad Maia

November 10, 2022

“During my return to the WTA tour, I played five tournaments in Portugal and started feeling a pain in my finger on my left hand. Because things were feeling strange, I got an MRI and it was discovered that I had a benign tumor that had to be removed. At the end of 2020, I had surgery where they had to open my hip to get the bone and make a graft for my finger. I had to stop playing tennis again for almost four months and then make another return to the tour. In my career, I’ve already had six moments that I had to stop playing. In tennis, starting again is not easy, especially when you come from South America. In 2017, I reached the top 100 for the first time, and then I had another surgery on my lower back in 2018. After that, I came back to the top 100 in 2019 and then I got suspended. For sure, that was the most painful moment of my life. It was around 14 months off of the tour. I was unable to go to my club and play with my family. I couldn’t watch tennis, or use social (more…)

Ben Sigouin

November 3, 2022

“I was officially diagnosed with OCD in the spring of 2021. I’ve been struggling with it for as long as I can remember, but the crazy thing is I didn’t even know I had it. It was one day after a dual match here at UNC, one of my teammates and friends reached out to me and brought it up, saying, “Hey, let me know if you need any help or if you have any questions about OCD.” When he said that it rang a bell. I went on the internet, like most people do these days, and I Googled it, and it really shocked me, because what I thought were just crazy habits of mine were actually compulsions. From there, well, I didn’t really know what to do, so I started working with a sports psychologist at UNC in private — none of my teammates knew. It was just a thing with me and my coach, who knew, my girlfriend and family. For me, my OCD spiked when COVID started because I had no way home — I stayed in the States. When I was diagnosed in the spring, I didn’t initially tackle it right away because I was afraid (more…)

Barry Buss

October 25, 2022

#MyBTR- April 1983, at age of 18, I walked on a tennis court as a UCLA Bruin 22-0, one win away from breaking Jimmy Connors all-time record for consecutive wins by an incoming freshman. A year later, I had quit the team and dropped out of school to live in my van, drinking and drugging my life away around the clock. What happened? Well, it turned out it was happening all along. I suffered from un-diagnosed and untreated Bipolar Disorder from my earliest ages. The signs were all there. The volatility of the cheating, the tantrums, the choking, the tanking, all sprinkled within stretches of inspired play. A middle of the pack junior growing up, late my senior year I came into my own, making the US Jr Davis Cup Team and earning a scholarship to the defending NCAA Champion UCLA Bruins. It was a feverish year of results, vaulting me near the top of my class in American tennis.  So out of my comfort zone, I cracked under the pressure of elite tennis, succumbing to my self-medicating ways of alcoholism and addiction, anything to tame my raging mind. I would struggle mightily with addiction and mental illness throughout adulthood, (more…)

Ingrid Martins

October 20, 2022

“In April of 2015, I was playing a Future in Brazil and just starting my career on tour. My dad traveled with me for this tournament. He is my biggest supporter. Never counted anything to invest on me and my sister in sports. All of a sudden, he told me he couldn’t afford my trips anymore. The moment in the country was not the best and he was worried. It was a shock for me. I couldn’t see myself without tennis in my life. At the time, college in America was not well known for a lot of people in Brazil, including me. It was seen like the end of your tennis career. I could barely speak English. I did not want to go and couldn’t agree with my dad. But I didn’t have any other option besides stop playing tennis and live a “normal life”. I also didn’t want that. Tennis is my passion and I had dreams and goals to achieve. I had to go in August since I was already 18. He sent me a couple of articles that opened my mind. I also researched but couldn’t find many information but the ones that I found were (more…)

Matteo Arnaldi

October 13, 2022

“I don’t like to use the word ‘scared’ because a lot of things can happen in a tennis career. Personally, I just try to improve every day and do the best I can. I believe that good things come with hard work and dedication. It’s common for everyone to have their own goals and it’s not always easy to achieve each one of them. At the end of my career I want to be able to look back and know that I did everything I could to achieve my goals and have no regrets. I’m someone who has a lot of passion for this sport. I really enjoy being in the gym, working hard everyday and putting the utmost effort into every aspect of my development. Sometimes I need to be reminded by my team to have a rest day or I would be working nonstop throughout the year. My passion and the work I put in helps me in the tournaments and matches that I play. Thinking back and reminding myself of the work I’ve put in helps me to stay motivated and gets me through difficult moments. My first junior international tournament was in Georgia when I was (more…)

Giulio Gallarotti

October 2, 2022

#CelebrityBTR– “I started playing tennis at this day camp my parents sent me to. It was actually a religious camp — well maybe not religious but they made you pray at lunch, so, to me, that’s a religious camp. I was not used to praying, but I ultimately ended up enjoying the camp.  While at camp, we played some version of dodgeball on the tennis courts everyday, really chucking these balls at each other. I’m pretty sure we called it chuckball. I told my parents about it and they called the camp to complain. Chuckball was discontinued, so we had to find something else to do on the tennis courts. I guess it made sense to play actual tennis.  I started playing and was fairly coordinated. My dad had played tennis at Hunter College and used to give tennis lessons. I asked him if he would teach me and never looked back. I must’ve been around 12 at the time, so I started kinda late, but got into it very quickly. My favorite tennis moment was the American East conference quarterfinals against Stonybrook where my dubs partner Barrett Wolf and I won in a dramatic tiebreak. Stonybrook was better, and (more…)

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…)