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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Iga Swiatek | Tennis 10sBalls

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

“I am only 19 years old so nothing special has happened in my life. Growing up, I played tennis because I had a lot of energy as a kid. Tennis was a chance for me to be alone on the court and make my own decisions. I loved winning and was good at it. But I did not fall in love with tennis right away because I did not know how much it could bring to my life. At age 15, I played my first junior Grand Slam, the French Open. This was the first time I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I always knew I had potential. I was the top-ranked player in Poland but didn’t know if I was mentally or physically ready to play professionally. We do not have many players in my country so I was not around experienced players who could teach me how to make it on tour. I had to find my own way.

I am not good at dealing with injuries. At age 16, I had surgery. I did not have a good relationship with pain and was not sure if I would overcome this obstacle. Two years later, I injured my back the day before the third round of the 2019 French Open. It was really hard for me to get injured in Paris and lose the opportunity to do my best. I played the match and could not even bend over. I lost the first set 0-6. Then I realized the pain was in my head. I had a breakthrough and won the match in three sets. I always knew I could win the French Open.

People are often not aware of how much pressure we have as tennis players. For me, pressure has always come from inside. I always wanted to work with a psychologist. There is a belief that psychologists are only for people who have problems but I feel like psychologists are for people who want to improve. I realized my personal life affects my performance. I started working on non-tennis things and focused on my relationship with my parents. I realized my on-court performance would improve when I settle off-court things. The mental aspect is often the difference between winning and losing a match. We are alone on the court and alone on the plane. It’s important to have someone you can trust.

School is a big part of my life. I graduated high school a few weeks ago. The pandemic gave me time to do well on my final exams. It was hard to study while playing on tour because I am very ambitious and want to do everything perfectly. My work ethic can help me achieve many things but sometimes it is just tiring. My psychologist helped me realize I don’t have to do everything perfectly. Studying helped me because I wanted to broaden my horizons. School gave me a Plan B. If I was not going to be a top player in tennis, I could do something else. I finished high school with great grades so I could go to any university I want in Poland or get a scholarship to study in the United States. My parents raised my sister and me to put school first then tennis. I might go to college within the next few years. It depends on my tennis career because if I win a Grand Slam next year and become a Top 5 player, I don’t think I’m going to have time. But if this does not happen, I’m going to start college.

The most important thing is to maintain a positive state of mind and focus on mental health because we have to deal with many things such as injuries and risking our own health sometimes. I want to raise awareness about tennis in Poland and do charity work to help kids achieve their dreams. I have many ideas but have not had the guts to act on them yet.”

Iga Swiatek (@iga.swiatek)


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

Facebook | Behind The Racquet

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Also listen to Noah Rubin’s Podcast

Behind the Racquet Pod Mike Cation & Noah Rubin/Tennis Channel Podcast Network

and check out his new clothing line!