My Story of the ITF Junior Tour
I had a dream. I had a dream to play for a top Division 1 tennis program. My time spent on the ITF Junior helped me understand the type of commitment I needed in order to play at that level. It became a full time job outside of school. It was even harder to balance out the training and school work during my senior year. I am not going to lie, it was more fun traveling and focusing on tennis than studying for a math exam I would have to make up. But, I was always taught to be a student-athlete. Student first, athlete second.
I traveled to many countries in South America and each one brought a new experience. Playing with people from different countries showed me what it was like to travel on tour and make new friendships. The first time I flew with my coach to a tournament, I never knew what to expect. I had other players from my club coming and I felt out of place. Once we settled into the hotel, we then went straight to the courts to train. Its different when you train with other players because you feel like you are apart of a team. The relationships you make with the others players are key because you see them other tournaments you travel to. I remember playing my first doubles match with a Brazilian player and communication was terrible between us. My broken Brazilian was good enough for us to win the match against ranked players in the world. Even though we only won the first round, I still won't forget that experience.
I think the best part about the whole experience was learning about the culture. When you travel to that many countries, you get stuck in the players hotel and do nothing all day. That’s one thing about the tour, junior or professional, you need to become apart of the experience. That is something that everyone should try. To play tennis on that level and experience what a professional has to go through everyday is a once in a lifetime chance. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.