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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Michael Kosta | Tennis 10sBalls

Photo by Behind The Racquet via Facebook

Editor’s note: 10sBalls thanks Noah Rubin for giving us permission to repost these great stories. We wish him and this endeavor the best of luck. Great seeing Noah wearing K-Swiss and playing Solinco Strings.

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#CelebrityBTR– ““I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and my siblings and I would get on our bikes and ride down to the Ann Arbor Racquet Club to play tennis. It was always this big family event. I fell in love with the sport because it would always bring the people I loved together. Fast forward 20 years to this small island off the coast of South Korea, called Jeju Island. I was competing in a 10k Future. I’d been on the road maybe six or seven weeks and was just worn down. It wasn’t like I was winning every week. I was maybe making second round in singles with the occasional win/final in doubles. I was alone in this small fishing village where it was constantly raining. I managed to overcome loneliness and get to a point where I was playing well. I remember the moment when I felt the change. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why my confidence all of sudden improved, especially without a coach by my side. I’m playing on my own savings and a little bit of money I raised. I was up 5-1 serving in third and I can’t tell you what happened but I just slowly started to lose momentum. It was like I couldn’t stop the snowball of losing. It’s been 20 years since this, and I can still remember the emotions of it all. 5-2, 5-3, 5-4. I had a couple of match points at 5-4; man, would that have changed everything. I didn’t convert and now it was 5-All. I then let it completely slip and I ended up losing 7-5, absolutely heartbroken. I remember walking back to my hotel through this fishing market and I felt so alone. I was thinking the reason I played tennis was because I loved being around my family and now I’m stuck in this South Korean fishing village alone after blowing one of the biggest leads you can basically have. Most people can understand how alone you can feel on a tennis court, but as a tennis player there are moments when you feel just as isolated off court. That moment for me is one I’ll never forget. Today, I appreciate being around people that love me because of that crappy match. It was all over for me when I ran out of money. It wasn’t like I’d qualified for slams and showed a ton of promise. I worked my ass off but it wasn’t enough. The University of Michigan assistant coaching position opened up and the newly hired head coach asked me if I wanted the job. It just seemed like the perfect fit to get me out of this, ‘sharing a hotel room, trying to qualify every single weekend’ grind. I do not regret it at all. The toughness, the perseverance, the isolation, the loneliness, learning how to handle all that, has 100% helped me tremendously in the other difficult job of being a stand-up comic. People who have tracked my comedy career would always say to me that it seems as though I have figured out the emotional side of stand up. I always reply that it was 100% because of tennis. You can panic up there, you can lose your composure, you can make mistakes, of course, but like any competitive tennis player, you’ve been dealing with that emotional roller coaster since you were five. I always encourage young tennis players that no matter the results, what they are experiencing now will make them so much better at whatever they do next. Eleven years after my tennis career ended, one night I come home from doing [comedy] sets in New York. I turn on the Australian open doubles final and it’s Raven Klassen, who I had won a few futures with. Here I am a comic, who struck the comedy jackpot and I’m doing great but there is always that thought, ‘What would my life have been if I would have stuck with tennis?’ –Michael Kosta

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You can follow Michael Kosta on the links below:

Facebook | Michael Kosta

Twitter | @michaelkosta

Instagram | @michaelkosta

You can check out more Behind The Racquet stories on the link below:

Facebook | Behind The Racquet

Twitter | @BehindTRacquet

Instagram | @behindtheracquet

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