The Voice's Connor Christian doubles as tennis player and coach
Connor Christian has been making noise in show business as a contestant on NBC's "The Voice," where he was selected as a member of Blake Shelton's team. But for now, his day job is in the tennis business, as a full-time teaching pro and program coordinator in Colorado.
Born and raised in Gallipolis, Ohio, Christian was first introduced to the sport as a youngster, by his father. It wasn't until high school that he started playing regularly, but once he did, he was hooked.
"I just fell in love with the sport," he told USTA.com. "I really love the sport of tennis. If you really dive into it, the people you meet while you're on that journey… everyone I've met in the tennis industry, for the most part, is the nicest, the happiest group of people. I was like, 'Man, I want a piece of that.'"
By the end of his high school career, which included three undefeated seasons as a team, Christian was ranked in the Top 20 in Ohio, and earned a scholarship to Southeastern University, a top NAIA school in Lakeland, Florida. After two years down south, he transferred back home to Division III Ohio Northern, where he played for two years and helped lead the team to the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) final.
"It taught me so much. Being a collegiate athlete is really demanding, balancing your workload for your classes and also trying to have a social life—which, during the season, that really is your social life.
"The thing that I took away from it most was meeting so many different people from different cultures and different backgrounds. Just the mix of everyone coming in and how quickly you bond as a family, as a team. I'm an only child, so that was like the most rewarding and most rich part for me, walking away feeling like I had 10 brothers."
Christian also started helping out at a local club with teaching young kids to play tennis during his time at college in Florida. By the end of his sophomore year, he earned his PTR certification and worked at Van der Meer Tennis in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Today, he works full-time as the junior competition coordinator and middle school program coordinator at the Randy Ross Tennis Center in Englewood, Colorado.
He's also been involved on the business side of the game, having completed a grassroots marketing internship at Wilson's national headquarters in Chicago in the summer of 2019, following his graduation. The marketing major earned the role by being named the ITA National Promoter of the Year for his work advancing the game of tennis.
"I just found myself chasing different aspects of it," he said, "because I want to understand the game more and more."
When it comes to "The Voice," Christian's tennis background makes him feel right at home in the heat of competition. He still maintains a physical training regimen to keep himself in good shape for both singing and tennis.
"I like to run every morning, get my cardio up, so I can be able to breathe when I'm hitting the notes and also hitting shots," he said, comparing two of his favorite activities. He also compared the importance of purposeful practice in both disciplines, with a focus on improving any areas where he's not fully comfortable.
"I also like the underdog mentality of, 'OK, I've got a challenge ahead.' And Blake said something to me like that—normally the guys that have the bigger challenge in front of him take the bigger swing.
"As soon as I hit the stage, it's 'go time.' It's like as soon as that first serve goes up in a match, you're ready. You've put in the work."
For more on Christian's tennis chops, check out the below video from the official USTA Twitter account.