I played a bunch of different sports growing up. I loved them all. But tennis was the one that stuck with me. I was about six or seven years old when I started playing. First practising and then competing in tournaments any chance I got. It became clear pretty quick that tennis was the sport I wanted to follow.
The mental and individual aspects of tennis make it unique and challenging. Those were the main attractions. You have to be in the best physical shape to have the best chance of winning. But having a clear focus and being confident in your mental game is just as important. They go hand in hand, it’s hard to have success with just one of those two elements.
I play to become the best player I can be. My ultimate goal is to win a Grand Slam. I love working hard and chasing that dream. I feel very lucky to wake up every day and do what I love.
That’s what drives me – trying to achieve the goals I set for myself, to become the best I can be.
I’ve already had some great moments in tennis. Reaching the semi-finals of the 2016 Madrid Open and qualifying for the 2016 French Open, my first Grand Slam. Those have been my most memorable achievements so far.
In the future, I’d love to do well in the US Open. I grew up in New York, so that’s my favourite tournament. It’s been my dream to play there, ever since I was a kid, and I absolutely love the atmosphere.
My best matches are ones where I execute my game plan, fight for every point, and give myself the best shot at success I can.
I love working hard and chasing that dream. I feel very lucky to wake up every day and do what I love.
Right handed, Two handed backhand
A training day usually means two tennis sessions, with a break in between, and a fitness session (sometimes two, depending what stage of training I’m in). Eat, sleep, repeat.
When I need some downtime, I really enjoy watching basketball and playing soccer. I played both as a kid, but I watch basketball more than soccer.
I like to draw and sketch, and I love music. They’re both great ways to pass time on the road and I never leave home for a tournament without my sketchbook or my headphones.
When I‘m traveling, the best tip I can offer is to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. And never underestimate a good night’s sleep.
Reading’s a nice way to decompress and pass time when I’m not playing. I also really enjoy yoga, when we’re travelling I always try to find classes. It’s a great way to unwind. My family and friends back home also help keep me grounded if I feel stressed out. That support can be really important when you have a bad day or a tough game.
In that scenario, I like getting back out on the practice court the next day to try and improve and correct the things I didn’t do well in my match. Some matches hurt more than others, but I try to remind myself that it’s only a game and should never consume my whole life. Having perspective and patience is key.
You can take a lot of inspiration from your role models in that regard. I look up to a lot of the great tennis players. I grew up watching them play, so the fact I can now compete against them is incredible. Growing up in the US, Serena Williams was always my role model. And in my opinion, she’s still one of the greatest to ever play the game.
One of the reasons for that is her consistency. Trying to back up a great performance is a challenge that many players face. Replicating that same level, week in, week out, is difficult. Thats what the very top players do so well. And that’s what I’m working very hard to achieve.
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