Well, after two years out on tour I’m hanging up the rackets. Consider this post my official retirement announcement. Do you think they’ll have a ceremony and throw me a party? I mean, Since Federer is still playing, my retirement is the next biggest announcement in the sports world.
I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but I have been sitting on it since then for a few reasons.
First of all, I wanted to make sure I didn’t change my mind. Over the summer while recovering from ankle surgery I had been considering quitting tennis, but I didn’t want to make a decision before I was able to play again. I can’t even count the number of times I went back and forth, but the last thing I wanted was to write a long post saying I’m done and then two days later decide I’m not.
After discussions with my coaches and family, I originally decided I would give it one more go. I began training again, but I could tell something was off. The motivation and drive were completely gone. As cliche as this will sound, I think I knew this is what I had wanted all along, but it was tough to accept.
Secondly, I’m sick of my body hurting all the time. I don’t have a great track record with injuries, and I never seemed to figure out what works for me. I’ve had chronic knee pain for the past year, and I don’t want to keep putting my body through the grind when I’m nowhere close to achieving the results I want.
The tipping point was losing my national ranking. I had planned on finishing out the year playing around the States, but due to my injury I lost all my USTA Top 500 points. Without this ranking, I would be unable to gain entry into any tournaments.
Over the past two years I poured myself into tennis. I did all the right things day in and day out. Running, lifting, eating clean. If there was something I could do to gain an edge and improve as a player I did it, except for maybe steroids. However, I never got the results I wanted. Mentally this wore me down over the course of the past year or so.
I can tell you the moment I decided to fully quit. I had an 8a.m. practice scheduled, but when I woke up that morning, I didn’t want to go. And I don’t mean the feeling where you’re tired or just want to snooze some more. I legitimately had no desire to play tennis.
I showed up to practice and after 15 minutes I called it a day. The passion and joy I used to have for the sport had left me. I still love tennis and always will, but the drive to stay out on tour was gone.
I’ve had plenty of people say I’m crazy, that I’m too young, I’m stopping too early. They say I’m going to regret this decision. But look, it’s not like I made this decision on a whim. It had been gnawing at me for quite some time.
Am I sad to leave tennis behind? Absolutely. I had such high dreams and goals that I never came close to achieving. However, I have no regrets about tennis. I always gave my best effort on and off the court and fully dedicated myself to pursuing a career in tennis. It sucks that it didn’t work out and I feel like I failed, but I’ve come to terms with that feeling.
The past two years have been an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world, but it’s time to move on to something new. So what’s next?
I’m now a coach at Louisville Tennis Club part-time until I decide about a full-time career path. I’m still up in the air about returning to school for an MBA, so until I make a definitive decision my future job prospects are in limbo.
Fortunately, I have plenty of people mentoring me as I transition from tennis into business. I’ve gotten some great career and life advice over the past month, and I’m all ears when it comes to learning about business opportunities.
In the past month I’ve also become more heavily involved with Cracked Racquets. In the past I would usually write for the site once a month as I still had a full training, tournament, and travel schedule. However, I’m now producing more articles and other content, and I did my first ever podcast a week ago. We’ve been all hands on deck the past couple weeks with our US Open coverage and have some other exciting projects in the works.
This Sunday we’re hosting our first ever live watch party. If you’ve ever heard of Barstool Sports or The Ringers, we’re taking a similar approach to tennis. Our goal is to provide a fresh perspective on tennis and share the great untold stories of the sport.
If you’re curious, check out our site and tune in this weekend! We’ll be live from Indianapolis and have guests such as Mackenzie McDonald, Eric Quigley, Jared Donaldson, Roger Rasheed, and Rex Ecarma joining the show. You can find the live-stream here.
Though my tennis career is over, there’s plenty of opportunities awaiting me. Whether or not I get an MBA, I’m leaning towards becoming involved in a start-up and entrepreneurial business that offers a fast-paced dynamic environment full of competition and creativity. I’m ready to take on new challenges, and I think the past two years of tennis have fully prepared me for this next step.
Thanks to everyone who has kept up with my story over the past couple of years. Knowing I had people cheering me on made the journey way more enjoyable, and I’m forever grateful for the support you all gave me.
The end of this chapter is the beginning of a new one.