Di Lorenzo finding
a rhythm on pro tour
Christina Aguis | February 9, 2018
After two years of playing collegiate tennis at Ohio State University, 20-year-old Francesca Di Lorenzo – one of college tennis’ biggest stars and the 2017 year-end No. 1 – decided to go pro.
Di Lorenzo took last fall off from the college game to focus on competing on the pro circuit, where she reached at least the quarterfinals of three straight events. She turned pro in November 2017, ultimately ending her college career as an NCAA doubles champion and three-time ITA National Champion, with a Top 300 WTA ranking, as well.
“[Being a professional tennis player] had always been my dream since I was 12 years old, and playing all the tournaments in the fall helped me decide to dedicate 100 percent of my time to tennis,” said Di Lorenzo, who earned All-America honors in both singles and doubles at Ohio State. ADVERTISEMENT “I really love traveling, so I knew that was something I wanted to do, and I knew I was ready, so I thought it was the right time.”
A native of New Albany, Ohio, Di Lorenzo picked up a racquet for the first time when she was 6 years old and started playing with her family at a nearby country club in Ohio when she was 10.
“I loved the individual aspect of the sport, and I’m super competitive, so I started playing in clinics,” she said. “The more tournaments I played, the more I loved it. I would always be out on the court, and I would spend every day there because it was so close to home.”
Di Lorenzo credits her 22-year-old sister Cristina, who played tennis at Xavier University, with helping her become a competitive athlete.
“We both picked up the racquet around the same age, but we’re both competitive, so being on the tennis court just drove the competitiveness through us,” she said. “We always wanted to beat each other, so we would practice to that.”
As a professional tennis player, Di Lorenzo is always on the road for tournaments and is away from home about three weeks out of every month.
Life on tour has been an adjustment, since she had been used to traveling with her Ohio State teammates, and as a pro, she travels alone. The individual aspect of life as a pro is what she considers to be the hardest part of transitioning from college tennis to the professional tour.
“It’s good, but it’s hard,” Di Lorenzo said. “I think you really need to have friends at the tournaments or have someone to travel with. Then it’s really fun. You can go to dinner and explore the cities you go to, as well. It’s obviously good if you’re doing well and playing well, but it can definitely be tough at times and lonely.
“In college, everything is there for you. You have the trainers, and you have the coaches whenever you need them, and you always have the team traveling with you. You have eight or nine other girls on the team that want you to win. When you’re on the pro tour, you’re by yourself out there fighting to win matches, and you’re alone. It takes a little bit to get used to. I’m still not used to it.”
These days, when Di Lorenzo is on the road and not on the tennis court, she has found ways to occupy her time.
“If you’re in a tournament or out of the country, it’s always fun; you can go explore,” Di Lorenzo said. “But if you’re somewhere you’ve been quite a few times and you just want to relax, I just watch movies or hang out with some of the other girls at the tournaments.”
Di Lorenzo has been training at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., and won the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Wesley Chapel, Fla., in late January, elevating her ranking 41 spots to No. 258 in the world – a career high.
In just the few months since she's turned pro, Di Lorenzo appears to be finding her rhythm as she transitions from college tennis to the pro tour. And no doubt she looks to keep making a statement in 2018.