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Player to Player: Turning Pro

Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For, and Offering, Advice on the Sport They Love

Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.



This week's question from Esteban:

Can anyone recommend rehabilitation exercises and/or equipment to come back to tennis after quadriceps tendon rupture surgery? I am a fit, 3.5 player who just lost at the seniors sectionals (just qualify this year for seniors). Three weeks later, I slipped and fell on a humidity patch on the court breaking the tendon, which is odd since I have always been a jumper and this injury is mainly related to jumping and landing. I just had surgery on May 7 and now wonder what rehabilitation exercises, knee brace and tennis-specific agility programs are recommended. Thank you.

Please share your advice with Esteban by e-mailing Player@USTA.com and include your name and hometown.

Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!


Last week's question from Divya:
(Please note: There's no need to send additional responses to this question)

Hello, I am from India. I have started to play tennis at 18 (I am still 18), and I am now taking private lessons from my coach. Is there a chance for me to play competitive (professional) tennis, given that pros start at 6 or 7 and get into ATP or WTA at 13 or say 17? I know what it takes to play tennis at a professional level and also that I am too old to enroll into AITA (All India Tennis Association). Is there any other platform through which I can play at the national level? I have it in me to play good tennis. It's just that I realized my potential too late. Please reply. Your response will be of great help to me.

Player Responses:

From Dan, Oceanside, N.Y.:

My favorite quote in the world is from Mark Twain: "Those who believe they can those who believe they can't ... are both right." I don't think it matters at all whether you become a top touring pro or what age you start playing. Tennis is about the journey and not the destination. You never know where the step you are taking now will lead, so just take one step at a time. Try to enjoy the hard work and dedication you put into it, and I am quite sure you will be a very happy tennis player... maybe holding up the trophy at the US Open or maybe playing college tennis or maybe being a healthy 90-year-old who is thrilled by all the experiences acquired.

I have been teaching tennis for 50 years, and I never cease to be amazed by the accomplishments of people of all ages. (My oldest starting student was 75 years old.) I have been heavily involved with wheelchair tennis and teaching tennis to those afflicted with MS. If you could see the progress made by these people and the fun they have, I promise you that the thoughts of how far you go in this "Sport of a Lifetime" will become almost meaningless.

From Coach Danny, Oceanside, Calif.:

You should play in satellite and open tournaments and see how you do. Also, in California, we have the Easter Bowl, where juniors who want to make the pros play. These type bowls are in Florida, also. Check USPTA for the list.

From Eric, Santa Rosa, Calif.:

Taking your very first lessons at age 18 is just great, for a lifetime of fun, exercise and local tennis competition. It is unrealistic for international touring pro status. I cannot recall over the last 40 years any top pro that started that late.

Maybe a goal of being a teaching pro could be realized following a good local record of competition. Even that goal assumes an innately talented eye/hand coordination. A set of skills that usually develop this in childhood are all varieties of ball sports.

Have you excelled at other eye/hand sports? What is your foot speed and agility like versus your peers? Can you throw a ball with speed and accuracy? Set realistic goals on a local level, first and foremost. If initial lessons help you advance in local competition, then by all means keep at it. Find out how far you can develop your skill set, even if competing with Rafa and Roger is unrealistic.

From Coach Kenny, Chicago:

They say tennis is a sport of a lifetime, which it is. Starting at 18 and still being 18, do you think your game is anywhere close to what you see at the French Open?

Play as many matches as you can, watch tennis, listen to what the commentators say. Learn from all the pros and players you are around. I doubt you have a chance to be a pro, but keep learning, try and find tournaments and as many matches as you can. Maybe play in college, if possible.

At 18, there is a small chance, that you could somehow beat the odds and become an ITF player and maybe be ranked in the top 1,000 in the world. I would say the odds are against you, but fight for what you love. You will need to live and breathe tennis. Also, have a serious workout, cross-training program, and your shots have to be world class. Hopefully you are tall because in pro sports these days that is needed.

Have fun, don't stress out too much, and don't put all your hope in this. Again, the odds are highly against you. Go to college and play on the team. Train every day, very long hours, and get a degree. It’s an interesting goal that would make a cool movie but probably not going to happen in the real world.

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