preps for big summer
Christina Aguis | May 1, 2018
From Florida to Texas and then around the world, former Texas A&M star Austin Krajicek has been everywhere and back again for the sport he loves.
Growing up in Brandon, Fla., Krajicek often watched his father play at a club in Tampa. One day, he asked if he could join in. Little did he know that it would be the start of a far-reaching tennis journey.
“I played a little bit of basketball when I was at a really young age, and then I just decided to stay with tennis by the time I was around 10 or 12,” Krajicek said. “I just stuck with the one I liked best, and that was tennis, for sure.”
The individual challenge of the game is what appealed to him most.
“You’re out there by yourself, trying to figure it out with no help,” Krajicek said. “It was a fun challenge. I really liked playing and to run around and travel. ADVERTISEMENT I thought that was pretty cool.”
When it was time to choose between the pro tour and college, he decided to go to school. The team aspect of college tennis intrigued him, and in the end, he chose to attend Texas A&M, largely because of the coaching staff in College Station.
“I fell in love with the traditions and Texas A&M University, in general, so I tried to give it a go, and I think that was probably the best decision in my career so far,” Krajicek said.
“Playing for something bigger than yourself is something that you don’t do very often in tennis,” he explained. “The feeling of having 10 guys watching your match when it comes down to the last match… if you win or lose, it really affects everybody. It’s an extremely good feeling when you pull through and you get the team a win. I think that’s huge. That’s something that you can’t really do anywhere else in tennis, and it’s something that is a very unique situation.”
Krajicek’s time in college helped him improve on and off the court by sharpening his time-management skills.
“It really helps you mature, from a life standpoint, more than traveling around playing,” he said.
Now Krajicek is traveling on the pro tour, while still taking online classes to finish his degree in psychology. When he’s not playing tennis, he enjoys reading, golfing, hunting and fishing whenever he gets the opportunity.
“Obviously, tennis is a commitment, and there’s not a lot of time at home, so I like to be able to spend some time there,” said Krajicek.
When he’s not at home in Texas, he’s out traveling the world to play tennis. A few of his favorite destinations have been Australia and Sweden.
“Personally, I think the Australian Open is a really special tournament, besides the US Open. Obviously, Grand Slams are on a different level,” Kracijek said. “I really like Melbourne as a city quite a bit, and I like Sweden a lot, too. I had a great time in Stockholm when I played in that tournament a little while back.”
Although he doesn’t get to spend much time outside hotels, airports and tennis courts, Krajicek tries to experience the different cities as much as he can.
“It’s fun. It’s a good experience. You get to see a bunch of different places and see different cultures and how people live on the other side of the world,” he said. “It’s really cool, and I think it’s something that after a while you sometimes take for granted a little bit. It’s a unique opportunity to see all parts of the world and experience different things, so I really enjoy that a lot.”
It can also get lonely while traveling, but having a doubles partner by your side can make it easier.
Krajicek won an NCAA Doubles Championship in 2011 with Jeff Dadamo and now pairs with former Aggie Jackson Withrow, his partner for the past year-and-a-half on the pro tour. The two met at Texas A&M, when Krajicek hosted Withrow on his recruiting trip.
But with Krajicek working hard to get his singles ranking back up, the teammates still spend some weeks apart.
“I’m focused on getting my ranking back to what it was. I’d love to be in the Grand Slam qualifiers again for singles," Krajicek said of his short-term goals. Now ranked No. 293 in the world, he reached the Top 100 in the ATP World Rankings in 2015 and again in 2016.
He also has his sights set on more doubles success. He crashed the Top 100 in doubles in 2014 and has remained in the Top 150 for all but three weeks in the last four-and-a-half years.
“Jackson and I have been playing pretty well, so hopefully we can make our way into a couple of the Grand Slams this summer. If not the French Open, then Wimbledon, at least, and a lot of the tournaments this summer leading up to the US Open.”
Singles or doubles, the 27-year-old knows what it takes to play at the highest level. Krajicek is motivated to have another successful summer in 2018.