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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Pablo Andújar | Tennis 10sBalls

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.

“The problem with my injury was it wasn’t only about tennis. It negatively affected my daily life. My elbow injury was the worst one in my life. Some people may think I am just complaining but it was very tough for me. It lasted about three and half years with five surgeries during that time. Before returning in 2018 I had three difficult surgeries, with a couple easier in 2018 and 2019. 2015 was one of the best years of my career when I got to the finals of Barcelona. From that I reached my career ranking. I also made third round of Wimbledon, which for me is very difficult since I didn’t win a match there prior. I was playing well until I felt something in my elbow. I did what I could to avoid pain but it wasn’t helping. I remember playing a match where I could barely finish the first set serving. After the match I saw a doctor who said it was all okay and it would be fine for me to go to the American swing of tournaments. I first played in Canada, then Cincinnati and then finally the US Open. After the Open I decided to end my year there because of how badly the elbow felt and I couldn’t be competitive or play even close to my best. I finished my year in August. I did nothing for the rest of the year until the first week of 2016 in Doha. All this time I have been trying to avoid surgery. I played for a little over a month and in mid February the pain was too much. I decided that in March I would get the surgery. I took a protected ranking and it took three months until I even started touching a tennis ball around. The pain was still there but less. Six months later I began to play a few challengers but it didn’t feel good. I played three until I couldn’t take the pain and I took another break. After speaking to so many doctors and physios I decided to plan another surgery in November 2016. I got married and went on my honeymoon right before the surgery. I got back to slightly hitting around February of 2017. The pain returned worse than before, and was increasing by the hit. You can imagine how depressed I was after a year and a half doing everything I can, listening to everyone I can and still in pain. It doesn’t even improve a little. I tried one last thing. I went to a doctor at my home in Valencia, since the other two I went to were in Barcelona. He told me there could be a new path, something different to focus on. The other doctors were focusing on the tendon while there may be a nerve problem. They transposed the cubital nerves from one side or another. During this time I remember speaking to my wife and telling her this is the last one. After this one it began to feel better and better from April to January 2018. I was happy when I began the new year. There was still a bit pain but it wasn’t the same pain I was used to.

During my battle with injuries it was getting tougher for me mentally every day. There were many times throughout it where I thought I would end my career. In July of 2017 my eldest son was born. It helped change my mentality and my vision was different which relieved me from a lot of pressure. The birth of my child was one of the most positive things for my career. It gave me a better outlook. I felt a positive feeling in 2018. I decided to travel with a coach and a physio, which I haven’t done together before. I told myself that it’s okay if it doesn’t work but I want to be the one that does all the right things and then decide if it works or not. We were lucky that it did. I mean this; tennis was my life until the birth of my kids. My life is my family and kids. At times it could be a negative thing for tennis like when I practice or focus less on just tennis. When you have other important things in life it is a huge relief from the pressures of tennis and allows you to enjoy tennis like you once did. People usually think that having a family will always be a negative but it isn’t. Even if you don’t have as much time as before, when you are training you giving it your all and are more focused than ever before. The only goal I have had on court, since 2018, is to stay healthy. I work day by day trying to prevent those injuries. Of course there are days I train my forehand, backhand or serve but my main goal is health. I play for my family. I would like to play long enough for my oldest son to watch me and enjoy tennis. For now he only knows tennis as what takes me away from him. What I would love more than anything for my tennis is to be the one that decides the end of my tennis career, not any injury.”

Pablo Andújar (pabloandujaroficial)

Editors note: We applaud Noah Rubin and all of his colleagues. The way they open up and expose their situations with the reader of BEHIND THE RACKET is truly amazing. NoahRubin33 is always ready to give you a tennis tip by sending him your video. Please listen to his great podcasts and go check out his coaching on his sites.

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