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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Alex Hunt | 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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“I was born with one arm. I guess I always tell a shark story or something crazy when other people ask about it. I just have a bit of fun with them. I am pretty sure the umbilical cord got wrapped around my arm and just stunted the growth. For me, it’s not even a disability. I’ve had it my whole life so it’s become very normal. I’ve said this before, I look at people with two arms like they’re a bit weird. My whole family plays tennis; mom, dad, both my older brothers and grandparents on both sides. I guess I just grew up around all sports. I started playing all of them actually, then it got to the point that tennis was the one that I wanted to keep going with. I ended up going to college, playing first singles my last year, and decided I didn’t want to give up on it. Luckily enough, my parents are helping me, along with a few other people, so I can carry on and play the lowest level of professional tennis but for me that’s huge. I just love it. Two and a half years ago I won my first ATP points, which allowed me to feel it was possible. About eight months ago, I had a concussion that kept me out for six months. I recently came back and played my first Futures in a while and managed to get my first ATP doubles point which was another big step for me. I guess my attitude towards it has changed a little bit. When I was growing up and in college, it never crossed my mind that I might have a disability. I literally just thought I was the same as my brothers. I chased them around riding motorbikes. My parents were really good at making it seem like I had nothing different as well. Even when I went to my primary school my parents would come into my first class of the year. We would go up to the front of the class and tell them a little bit about my arm; how it happened, how it works and then allow them to ask any questions they want. That allowed people to not shy away from it and let everyone understand it. It  took away the bullying and basically made it completely normal to most people. In the last three years or so, since I started trying to play on the tour, it made a bit of a stir in the media that made me realize that I could use the story as a little bit of a motivator. I started understanding that I could change people’s lives by just going out there, playing and doing my best. I’ve had so many messages in the last two or three years from other families, parents and kids with disabilities, that are very similar to me. When I get those messages, it’ shows me how I am not playing for just myself. I recently realized, after a fall, that playing without my prosthetic is better for me. My coach and I thought that the prosthetic could only help but you just don’t think about trying without it. Having it on has helped me with everything else, tying my shoelaces, stuff like that but got in the way of my tennis. I suddenly got more power on my serve and just served better in general. I just put the ball between my bicep and elbow, pop it up and it goes pretty well. I think I’ve just grown up my whole life joking and enjoying it. I also want other people to not be scared to ask, joke or come up to me, because that’s who I am. Joking about it makes it easier for other people to ask questions and feel freer around me. I think that that might be the deeper part of it. Then the other part is just that I like joking and having fun. The biggest thing that gets me is when I’m in public and a kid wants to come up and ask me about my arm but the parent stops them from being ‘rude’. I truly enjoy when a kid comes up and wants to ask about it and understand it. I want to show everyone, especially others like me, that it is all possible.”

Alex Hunt (@alexhunttennis)

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