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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Evan King | 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.


“Early 2015 was a pretty dark time for me. I had decided to quit professional tennis, get out of that bubble and enter the real world. With that lifestyle change came more time to live, reflect and consume everything outside of the professional tennis world. Around that time, there were a few high profile race-based killings in the United States. The murder that received the most publicity at the time was Trayvon Martin. There were a lot of others that didn’t grab mainstream media’s attention but these stories kept repeating themselves with no real change.

As these murders kept occurring, and I was no longer solely consumed with that fuzzy yellow ball, I came to the realization that any one of those killings could have been me. I could have been that kid walking back from 7/11 wearing a hoodie and getting Skittles or more recently, I could have been Ahmaud Arbery going for a run in a white neighborhood before getting shot. Those realizations took me to a dark place. I was 22 and I was starting to think about what I was leaving behind in the world if my life ended unexpectedly. I thought I wanted a kid, strictly to leave something behind if I died. To make sure my family lineage didn’t end with me.

I felt lucky to be alive. I started taking walks in the cemetery multiple times a week. I would look at the tombstones and get emotional if the deceased were younger than me. Not all of these deaths were racially charged, but I kept going on these walks for the perspective and appreciation that I had made it to see 23 when I knew some others didn’t live a full life. I felt a shot clock on my life, way sooner than normal. My goal was to make it to 25 and the rest I considered borrowed time.

These feelings lasted a few months. Over time, I found ways to cope with my thoughts and to numb that outlook I had on life. I had a great crew of people that kept me from walking through the damn cemetery. I went back on tour. Since then, I’ve done a ton of international travel. I’m one of the only American players who prefers to play outside of America. I feel safer walking down the street in Kazakhstan or Bosnia than some of the places I travel to in my own country.

I’m sharing all of this now with the hope that people reach out to their crew to make sure they’re ok. This is a wild time and you don’t know who is affected or how they are affected. On the surface in 2015, I might have seemed ok but it was a dark time.

Fast forward to 2020, I’m 28 now. I’m able to smile and embrace that earlier period of my life. The stories and conversations continue but there is more general public outrage which is a good change. It’s needed but with that outrage, don’t forget to reach out to your own crew to make sure they’re ok.“

Evan King (evankingchicago)

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.

You can check out more Behind The Racquet stories on the link below:

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