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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Matt Ebden | Tennis 10sBalls

Photo by Behind The Racquet

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.


“Things really began to change in my 20’s. One of my close coaches from Perth who worked with me on and off a lot, from the ages of 16/17 to late into my 20’s, passed away. It’s been four years now since losing a long-term coach and friend, Darren Tandy. While coaching James Ward and I at the US Open one year, we lost in the early rounds. I flew back before them to Australia. While Darren was on his way back he had a stroke right before he boarded the plane. Emergency responders came to take him to the hospital. While doing all the scans they found quite a lot of cancer. It was an extremely developed, advanced form. They flew him back to Perth with a nurse, where he began 48 hour chemotherapy rotations to try and reduce the size of the tumor. It was only three months before he passed away. He’d been a mentor, friend, coach, and trainer to me for a total of 5 or 6 years, on and off, in Perth. All my family knew him. For him to just die like that, at only about 48 or 49 years old, was traumatizing. While he was in the hospital battling cancer I still had to travel and compete. I had a few close friends who helped coach me during this time. I ended up having a good run throughout this time while messaging with Darren constantly, who was encouraging me every day, even through chemotherapy. I remember going to tournaments after the US Open without him, and I just couldn’t bring myself to focus on the first one. I was fighting to compete and fighting myself to mentally focus. I took all the inspiration I could from him. This wasn’t the only experience like this. A coach I also worked with for close to a year, Peter McNamara, sadly passed away earlier this year in his 60s. Two of my more vital coaches of the past 10 years died. Regardless of these professional relationships being on and off, I considered these people my friends. There will always be a connection. Even my mother has dealt with her own health problems. About 7 years ago she got diagnosed with breast cancer, she had to have surgery and treatment and she is doing very well now living a healthy life. I remember it clearly about seven years ago when doctors found the lump on her breast that needed to be removed. It was definitely a shock and a lot to handle. These are all experiences that fans around the world have no idea are taking place while you are competing. It has shaped who I am and my perspective on people, life, and even tennis. I started understanding that time is the most important commodity in life. There is always more money or things, and even if you lose it, you can regain it. It worries me sometimes when I am away from family and friends for about 35 to 40 weeks a year. I am fortunate to have my wife travel with me for the last 6 years or so. Even after the things the people closest to me have dealt with, you begin to count your blessings. I still have my parents, sisters, and my wife’s family around, and everyone is together and reasonably healthy. We all live great lives in Australia. You just have to remember how many other people are dealing with similar travesties, or even worse ones than you. Besides the people around me, my faith has also been a large part of dealing with these tough moments. My family and I believe our spiritual faith has kept us grounded and helped remind us what life is really about. It’s given us something to believe in when times are grim. I find hope in the people around me. Even while Darren was in the hospital, I found myself playing for him. Tennis became bigger than just myself. The fear of losing becomes insignificant because it isn’t life and death, which is what he was fighting for.” Matt Ebden (matt_ebden)

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