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College vs. Turning Pro: The Age Old Question (literally)


Turning pro is a commitment. Choosing the right diet, early morning regimes, to have the same determination you had the first day you decided to commit to this dream. For a highly recruited athlete for a Division 1 school, you can say that these dedications mentioned earlier are about the same. Most of the players that went to college for tennis have had a pretty decent career; John Isner, Steve Johnson, James Blake, and Lisa Raymond.

The youngest player of the WTA tour that is ranked in the top 300 is Amanda Anisimova, who was born in 2001. 2001?! I think I have sneakers in my garage that are older than her. Granted, many people have not heard of her but that is not the point. She is 15 turning 16 this year and has already achieved a world ranking that must players only dream of. If she continues to roll through the rankings, she will not even think about going to college. I believe that learning by doing is a big part in tennis. This 15 year old is playing adults maybe twice her age and is learning how to deal with opponents that are stronger, tougher, and more athletic than she is. She will have more experience with playing tougher opponents than most girls will in college.

Two players on the ATP tour that played four years of college tennis are; John Isner and Steve Johnson. John Isner played at the University of Georgia where he won the ITA singles and doubles championship and was an All American. Steve Johnson won two NCAA singles titles, four NCAA team titles, and ended his college career on a 72 match winning streak. No one will ever beat that match record. I did not even know you can play that many matches in a college career. Now, do I think that staying in college was a good idea? Yes, absolutely. Do I think it hindered their opportunity to go to the pros earlier? Possibly. James Blake attended Harvard for only two years before he decided to go pro. His highest rank was 4 in the world, not a bad career. Jack Sock did not even finish high school and he is the highest ranked American. I was 13 when he was playing at the US Open Junior Championship when my coach turned to me and said, "Have you seen this kid Jack Sock? He is going to be somebody". Well would you look at that, he is.

I personally think that even if you are good on the college level, there is no guarantee that you will be good in the pros or have the same success rate that you did in college. Becoming a professional tennis player is tough, that is why you need all the preparation that you need before you take on one of the biggest commitments in your life.