Falling in love with the game
My dad introduced me to tennis when I was about four and I loved it. As a kid, I was shy and team sports weren’t really my thing. Tennis gave me that space to be alone and build my self confidence. I ended up being pretty good and the rest is history.
I love to play tennis because I’m a competitor. I love to battle in everything I do and tennis allows me to be myself on the court. It’s that one-on-one aspect of the game that I really enjoy. Two players battling to see who’s better on the day. Growing up, my idol was Roger Federer. He’s the ultimate role model and leader in our sport. On and off the court.
I’ve won a couple of Challengers tournaments, the 2011 title at Roland Garros and I made the semi-finals of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport. But my biggest moment was the second round at Indian Wells 2016. I took Novak Djokovic to three sets on centre court. That was some match.
Day in. Day out.
I wake up, grab breakfast and I’m out the door. I’ll usually play a few hours of tennis in the morning. Sometimes I’ll do two tennis sessions, then a fitness session. I might also have a double fitness day. It kind of depends on the time of year and what I’m trying to achieve. If I’m in tournament mode, everything revolves around the next match.
It can be hard to stay grounded. To stay in a routine. I try to keep in touch with friends and family as much as possible. As a tennis player, you need to be okay with being alone, and sometimes that gets hard. Netflix is a great way to pass time.
I love to play tennis because I’m a competitor. I love to battle in everything I do and tennis allows me to be myself on the court.
Right handed, Two backhanded
Day in. Day out.
The best tennis tip I can give is to just get out there and enjoy the sport. Know that tennis is a marathon and not a sprint. This is a sport that can stay with you for life and you’ll get out of it what you put into it.
Tennis has certainly been great to me. I’m so lucky to have a unique job. Being a tennis player from Pittsburgh is very different from the ‘norm’. It’s a little unexpected. My career aim is very simply to just see how good I can be, to see if I can break into the top 10. Then at the end of my career, I can look back and see how far I’ve come as a person and player. That unknown part really drives me.
There’s a quote I love from businessman Jag Chima: “A ship is safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.” It’s so true in my world. In life in general I think. To be great, you have to get out of your comfort zone.
Just get out there and enjoy the sport. Know that tennis is a marathon and not a sprint. This is a sport that can stay with you for life and you’ll get out of it what you put into it.
Aside from the players I compete against, my greatest challenge is the travelling we have to do. I’ve got a big family at home and it gets really hard when I go a long time without seeing them. I don’t enjoy flying or the airport process either to be honest. So for me, that’s a tough part of the sport.
To relax, I love watching ice hockey. I’m a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan and I think it’s the best sport to watch live. So much energy. I like to play basketball. I’m not very good, but I like playing.
Cooking is a great way to kick back too. I grew up in a family with lots of Italian food, so I really like to cook when I’m not on the road. I feel like I’m getting better all the time.
Srixon CX 200 Tennis Racket
Blend control with power. Take control of the game with the precision of the CX 200. Packing extra power and spin, this racket is fast and maneuverable. Ideal for advanced and intermediate players.