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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Aleksandra Krunic | Tennis 10sBalls

Photo by Behind The Racquet

Editor’s note: 10sBalls thanks Noah Rubin for giving us permission to repost these great stories.


“As a kid, I was used to winning way more than losing. Everyone around me considered winning as ‘normal’, and something to not even really celebrate. It changes when you start moving up age groups, and need time to get used to that level of tennis. I struggled a lot and took me some time to break into the top 100. My career has been very up and down, ranking wise but thankfully have been steadily between 50-100 in the world the last couple years. After getting to the WTA level, I kind of lost my purpose. Once money, agents and everything else got involved I lost focus.

All of 2019 I was asking myself questions, ‘Do I want this? Is it my dream or everyone else’s around me? Am I okay with top 50 or do I feel the need to do better for my coaches and family who think it is not good enough? What are my own dreams, wishes, needs and goals? How do I want to play my tennis and how do I enjoy myself?’ I am a very intuitive person and I feel like everyone’s opinion got in the way of my own intuition and confidence. At some point I guess I started to believe that everyone else knew better than I did and the idea that without a coach you are screwed; you have no chance. I found out that this is all an illusion. We all need some sort of structure, some more or less freedom than others. The most important part is to feel good and to know you are moving in the right direction every day with reassurance of this from your team.

Within all of this it is very important to not lose yourself and to be true to your essence. We all have very different and interesting personalities but it is becoming tougher and tougher to express them on tour. You get this feeling that nobody cares who you really are, only what you can do for them. It has been an ongoing struggle for me to get used to this environment while doing my best to stay true to my beliefs and values. I understand we are all opponents on the court but off the court there is so much room to help each other and be empathetic but it isn’t happening. Most of us have teams around us, but those are the people we pay who have their own interest in it at the end of the day. I was lucky enough to work with wonderful people that see the bigger purpose, more than money and feeding their ego, but in my experience it is so rare. We as players all have similar problems and struggles and if we were all a bit more relaxed, helpful and took tennis a bit ‘less serious’, it would benefit everyone.

Being on tour for over 10 months a year is really difficult especially when you are supposed to think everyone around you is an enemy. For most people, not all, we are somewhat of a project for others and it’s tough to separate your true identity from that. These were all the reasons I decided to take a break from tennis from March on, eventually we were all forced to stop, and basically spend time alone with myself, away from other opinions. I wanted to get rid of all the crap that was implemented in my career and learn to acknowledge positive things about myself, which no one taught me. I am learning to find my own place in tennis with my own ambitions and expectations, without being influenced by anyone. That’s why I felt the need to go back and start emptying out the ‘trash’. That’s my ultimate goal: To judge myself by who I am as a person, not by the matches I win. To find who I really am in this journey and to be okay with whatever answer I find.”

Aleksandra Krunic – Photo by Behind The Racquet

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