Q. I am fifteen years old. Last year was my first year playing tennis and I am enjoying it so much. I play every day and compete in tournaments whenever I can. I've played soccer ever since I was three years old and have found that, since starting tennis, the thought of playing soccer doesn't excite me anymore. However, soccer is the reason my footwork and speed is so advanced. I really want to quit so I can concentrate on tennis, but I'm worried how this will affect my game. Do you have any advice?
A. I always encourage developing tennis players to embrace playing other sports. Soccer, as you pointed out, is great for developing a superb fitness base, agility, balance, toughness, coordination (foot-eye, especially), and it is fun. If it is NOT fun anymore, then do not play. It is not supposed to be… work.
At a certain stage, spending more time on your tennis specifically will definitely help you develop your tennis game. For you, maybe fifteen years of age is the right time for you to “specialize” in tennis. The foundation for excellent footwork and speed will always be there (excepting an injury, of course) due to your efforts over the last dozen years on soccer fields.
By the way, there are TONS of professional tennis players who were also excellent youth soccer players. Combining these two sports has helped some of the greatest players of all-time, so you are in good company.