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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Alison Van Uytvanck | 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 around ten or eleven years old when I first went to the Belgium Federation to train. I quickly realized it was not going to be what I thought it would. I began to be bullied every day by the other kids, who were mostly guys. They would constantly make fun of my hair and it would make me feel miserable. I never felt so alone, having no friends and unable to really talk to parents. I felt like opening up about my bullying, especially to my parents, would just make other people’s lives tougher and I never wanted that. After about a year of dealing with this I finally said something to the coaches. They spoke to the kids about the issue, which only helped for about two days until it went back to ‘normal’. I had no one to lean on for help and found myself crying in my room day after day. It came to an end when I was kicked out. Beyond not fitting in I was consistently injured and the people at the top didn’t believe in me and how my tennis was improving. It was the toughest moment of my life, but has made me the person I am today. It took some time to get passed the experiences I dealt with. My self esteem was very low and I stopped trusting myself. I started to believe the kids that once told me that I actually wasn’t beautiful and it led to my lack of confidence in tennis. I first spoke to many psychologists about my traumas, who really were the first people I opened up to.  As many know, I came out about three years ago, when I was 22.  From what I went through it gave me the courage to open up about my sexuality, which I was nervous to do. I have been fortunate to find my girlfriend, Greet Minnen, who I have been with for the passed three years now. It was nice to know that my parents dealt with me coming out well, they just wanted me to be happy and healthy. My girlfriend is a huge piece of why I am so happy today. She is one of the first people, outside my family, to give me confidence and tell me I’m beautiful just the way I am, including my hair. I finally felt accepted by someone. We also had the amazing opportunity to play doubles together in this past Wimbledon. It’s so good to know that I am supported by many people now. When I came out I immediately got a lot of positive support on social media, which shocked me. I feel like myself now, doing what I want to do, even participating in Pride Day during the US Open. Through all my experiences I feel like I need to share my story with others to hopefully help them. My girlfriend and I will sometimes train back at the federation and we talk to as many kids as possible. We tell them how important it is to show respect and tell them if they ever need help or have questions that we are there to answer. We have already helped kids get through events in their life. This makes it all worth it. If I ever get down I remember the kids that bullied me, who ‘had more potential’, are not playing tennis anymore, and here I am!” – Alison Van Uytvanck (alison_van_uytvanck)

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