After four years competing at the University of Illinois, I faced the challenges of deciding what to do next in order to be a successful professional tennis player. I sat down with Brad Dancer and Marcos Asse before my senior year began and after much consideration, we decided that it would be best for me to take online classes during the fall while traveling and competing professionally. That way, I could get my ATP ranking up and be able to get into the main draw of tournaments without having to qualify.
This decision was hands down one of the best decisions of my career. Competing throughout fall enabled me to see what life on the tour really looks like. At first, I found the life on tour to be extremely different. I was used to traveling and competing with my teammates and cheering each other on. I specifically remember playing in a tournament in Canada where I lost in the second round and my next match wasn’t until the following week. I was going crazy by myself and I decided to drive my car nine hours all the way back to Champaign for three days just so I could be with my teammates and coaches again. That trip was well worth it in the end because I learned what I needed to have in order to succeed, and that was having a team around me while I travel.
This brings me to why I chose to be a part of the Add2 Performance team. Besides the fact that Billy Heiser was my coach in juniors, I learned from my experience in Canada that it would be very important for me to remain on a team even though my college days are behind me. Not just a team, but a professional team with world-class coaches, trainers, and physios that can show me how things are done as a professional athlete. I needed to get stronger, increase my stamina, and continue to build my tennis game to the next level. Now that I am fully moved into my apartment in Florida and have been training with the Add2 and Saddlebrook Performance team, I have learned how the pros train.
My work day begins at 10 o’clock, but what that really means is getting to the gym around 9 o’clock so I can fully activate my body and get my muscles firing so they are ready for practice. Once 10 o’clock hits, I begin my tennis portion of the day, which in the Florida heat and humidity can be absolutely brutal. After our tennis practice we get a small break and then we either hit the gym for an hour and a half, or we have conditioning on the field, depending on the day. Three changes of outfits later and it is time to go home by around two or three.
The biggest difference between being in college and being on my own is the worry about paying bills and taking care of my finances as opposed to worrying about when my next writing assignment is due in my Business Communication class. The financial aspect of being a professional tennis player is by far the toughest transition from being a student-athlete. In school you have your coaches, trainers, facilities, teachers, and food all at your disposal. In the professional world, it’s not quite that easy.
Luckily, I have a team around me that I trust and believe can take me to the next level. In the short two months that I have been a part of the team, I have been able to feel my stamina, mental game and performance improve already. I’m extremely excited to be a part of this team and look forward to the amazing success we will create, together.