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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Jan Lennard Struff | 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 grew up playing in a very small town in Germany called Warstein. It was very tough to find partners for training sessions, which is why we could never really schedule anything. My mom would pick me up from school with packed lunch so I was prepared for practice. She then brought me to the bus stop, which was about a 30 minute ride to the train station. The train ride was about 45 minutes which was where I used to do my homework. After practice and my return home, it would be about nine at night. At that age it was very long days. I always had this dream of becoming a professional tennis player. It helped that I had two parents who coached close to home. I remember when I was young waking up at 5:30 in the morning to watch the Australian Open for a few hours right before school. There were definitely times when I was late for school because I wouldn’t stop watching. I would then rush home after school to catch the night session. It didn’t matter how good I was, I always had the desire to be where those players were. I was a really shy kid, always doubting what I could do. In the beginning I played mostly in Europe because it was cheaper and easier to get to. After finishing school, I knew what I wanted but it wasn’t an easy choice. I got some offers from colleges and decided not to go even though it could’ve been a great experience. Many friends were telling me to go to college but I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be free, train, live my dream, live my life and not be put into a system. At the time I still questioned it all but just decided to give professional tennis a try and see how far I could go. I didn’t know how good I could be because I didn’t have the success as a junior that others had. I was ranked 400 in the ITF rankings and got my first professional point when I was 19 years old, which is a late start compared to others. It even took some time to battle pass the other Germans my age. Every year, step by step from 700, 300, 200 and now. There has been so many things that has changed, life is so different now. It’s not easy being away from my girlfriend and son and scheduling times to see them between tournaments. Torn between giving everything to tennis and being there for family. Now being home and practicing, it is not easy sleeping with the baby around. It’s a totally new situation. Some people may think I feel more pressure now but it is the opposite. My family only gives me joy, no pressure at all. It’s even good on a day where I lose a match when they are on the road with me. Most losses do not feel good but then my son comes out of his room, smiles at me and it calms me down, making the world good again. In the tennis world, sometimes it only takes one match to feel like nothing is working out. It isn’t easy, with our intense life, to take a step back and realize how far you’ve come and how much you accomplished. It’s strange to explain but when things move as quickly as they do in our lives, we don’t celebrate that often. We’re all losing at one point in the week since there is only one guy who wins the tournament. You are leaving almost every week with a bad feeling, not knowing what you achieved, but there is nothing else I rather be doing.” Jan-Lennard Struff (@jl_struff)

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