Can I go from College Tennis to Pro Level?
This is the question that many young players and their parents ask themselves. Can I still become a pro player if I go to college in the States?
A lot of people will say that once a player makes the decision to play college tennis in the US, it means that they have given up trying to become a professional tennis player. They may lose their momentum, get distracted with academics and other life events and then their tennis careers will be over. However, I believe that College Tennis is the right decision for the majority of players dreaming of becoming a pro.
How will College tennis make me a Pro?
If a player decides to go to college in the states as a way to transition into the pro game their main goal must be to use the whole college system towards the goal of becoming a pro tennis player. These top universities take training and development of their teams very seriously. They offer everything a player needs as far as facilities; indoor courts, outdoor courts, gym, running tracks and other outdoor fitness areas. As well as these, all colleges will have head and assistant coaches, fitness trainers, physios and other staff that will take care of the every need of a developing athlete. When the team travels to away matches, the university will fund the cost of bringing the whole training team; coach, trainers and physios. This off court team will take care of the players before and after their matches.
How can College Tennis stop me becoming a Pro?
The benefits of College Tennis are there for all to see, the facilities, the staff, the competition. But what about the potential downside of college. As mentioned above a lot of people think that going to college is a road block in your tennis career. Now if the player thinks this as well, their motivation to continue to work hard throughout their time in the States maybe lower. This will of course cause the player to stagnant in their development. University life is also a very fun an eventful time for young adult. There is always something happening on campus which could potentially distract players from their training.
Current and Former top 100 ATP/WTA players who attended College
There have been many players who have made the top 100 in the world both on the ATP and WTA tours who have first laid the foundation for this success at university in the USA.
Top 100 ATP players who attended college:
Jimmy Connors – UCLA (# 1 ATP)
John McEnroe – Stanford University (# 1 ATP)
Bob and Mike Bryan – Stanford University (# 1 ATP doubles)
Arthur Ashe – UCLA (#2 ATP)
James Blake – Harvard University (#4 ATP)
John Isner – University of Georgia (#9 ATP)
Kevin Anderson – University of Illinois (#10 ATP)
Benjamim Becker – Baylor University (#35 ATP)
Rajeev Ram – University of Illinois (#56 ATP)
Somdev Devvarman – University of Illinois (#62 ATP)
Top 100 WTA players who attended college:
Lisa Raymond – University of Florida (#15 WTA)
Laura Granville – Stanford University (#24 WTA)
Jill Craybas – University of Florida (#35 WTA)
Lilia Osterloh – Stanford University (#41 WTA)
Nicole Gibbs – Stanford University (#73 WTA)
Tzipora Obziler – Old Dominion University (#79 WTA)
Julie Ditty – Vanderbilt University (#89 WTA)
These are just a few names that went to college and then made a successful career for themselves on the pro circuits. They stayed discipline, dedicated and determined to become pros throughout there years playing College Tennis.
Becoming a pro tennis player is not guaranteed whether you go to college or not. It is a hard road filled with a lots of ups and downs and obstacles. Many players need more time to develop themselves both physically and mentally before being able to combat the pro tour successfully. If individuals can maintain the mindset that the pro players above were able to, then I believe College Tennis is a great stepping stone to becoming a pro tennis player. According to John Isner, “Kids playing tennis should go to college and stay there for four years. At 17, 18 years old, they’re not strong enough to compete with these 25-year-old pros.” Taking this time to develop physically and mentally will lay a stronger foundation for young players to succeed on the grueling professional circuit.