I had a dream of becoming a professional tennis player, competing at Grand Slams, and doing what I love. I went through a lot of failure and discouragement on my tennis journey but the lessons I have learned were priceless.
My extraordinary tennis story began at a small tennis club, TK Radosovice, just southeast of Prague, where I learned the game with my father. He was my number one fan and played an enormous role in my overall development. At the time, I was not considered an aspiring junior, but deep down I dreamed of competing at tournaments like Wimbledon as a professional player. I soon learned that I had some catching up to do to even come close to fulfilling my dream. First, my ranking sat below the top juniors. Further, I was attending normal school (unlike the other kids who had higher ambitions in tennis). I also wanted to go to college, which at the time was looked at as a final destination rather than a different path to the professional tour. Looking back, I am surprised I didn’t quit. But instead of giving in, I used it all as motivation.
As a junior player, I mainly competed at local tournaments. When I was 17 years old, my best junior Czech ranking was only No. 51. However, my dream still gave me motivation to practice harder. I improved my fitness, tweaked my game and results slowly started to happen. All of a sudden, I was playing close matches or even beating opponents who had smoked me a few years back. I slowly started believing in myself. In 2005, I earned my first ATP point at a tournament in Zilina, Slovakia. It was an indescribable feeling. I still remember the emotions when I was sitting in the locker room after the match. This “small” success gave me confidence and hope, hope that one day, I might truly become a professional tennis player.
Even though earning one ATP point was not nearly enough to get attention from the Czech National Tennis Association, I fell in love with tennis. I realized I wanted to practice more but was not able to afford a full-time coach. So, I looked for different options.
In 2008, I was offered an athletic scholarship to play for the University of Wisconsin. Moving to the U.S. and being exposed to a new culture was a great life lesson. College taught me discipline; working with new coaches gave me more self-confidence. When I graduated, my singles play was the second-highest winning percentage in Wisconsin history. I decided I was ready to pursue my childhood dream.
I allowed myself one year to see how it would go before pursuing a different career. Then, my dream became real. After moving back to the Czech Republic to play professionally, I climbed nearly 600 spots and reached a world ranking of top 250 ATP in singles. I also earned a spot at the 2012 US Open Qualification. Then, I ended up playing professional tournaments for five years.
During my career I ended up winning 11 titles at the ITF Futures tournaments in singles and doubles and reaching semifinals in Challengers. Finally, I did indeed realize my dream of playing at the most prestigious tournaments: the US Open, Wimbledon, Indian Wells, Doha. I beat players such as Dustin Brown, Ryan Harrison, Frances Tiafoe, Jiri Vesely and Janko Tipsarevic.
"Now my dream is to be a great coach and to pass my experience onto younger players. I believe that my story can inspire many young athletes to keep dreaming and pursuing their goals. By starting Process Tennis, we want to create a training base that would connect local players and other tennis fans in the area. Our mission is to enhance tennis development of local junior players and to give every player chance to chase his/her tennis dreams."
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