Sport

Tennis battlers hold on to the dream

Brydan Klein, 22, says its a lonely life.
Brydan Klein, 22, says its a lonely life. John Mccutcheon

THE dream is holding the Wimbledon trophy aloft in front of thousands of adoring fans, making millions of dollars and flying to the next grand slam in a private jet.

The reality for aspiring tennis players is more likely to be cheap meals and budget motels as they eke out a living on the regional circuit.

Professional player John Millman, 22, knows these struggles firsthand as he toughs it out on the court and on the road in search of his dream to top the tennis rankings.

John's on the Coast for the Caloundra International tennis tournament which was won last year by a then little-known Australian by the name of Bernard Tomic.

John lost to Tomic in last year's semi-final taking it to him in an epic encounter before eventually going down 8-6 in the final set.

Knowing that someone from the ranks of the battlers can make the big time is what keeps John and others like him putting in the hard slog.

"Losing to Tomic last year by such a small margin shows just how close it is," he said as he prepared for his qualifying match yesterday.

"Now Bernard is ranked 34 in the world.

"After that I was going well on tour until I got injured."

In the lead-up to Wimbledon last year John suffered a shoulder injury and failed to seek medical help.

Relying on prize money to continue on the tour, he decided to play on.

That led to a severe shoulder injury and time off the court.

"I knew something was wrong with the shoulder but didn't get it looked at as I needed to compete to get paid," he said.

"If I was at home I would have had it looked at but being in another country and without a coach made it hard.

"I had to fly home and have surgery which cost me about five months away from the tour."

Fellow competitor Brydan Klein, also 22, is another tennis hopeful struggling with the adversities of being on the circuit.

Brydan said full sponsorship was usually only afforded to those in the top 100.

"I won the Junior Australian Open when I was 18 and picked up Adidas as a main sponsor, but it was only a two-year sponsorship," he said.

"At the end of that I hadn't worked my way into the top 100 and got dropped."

On top of the financial struggles and injuries, players have to deal with the loneliness of being in foreign places away from loved ones.

"A lot of the time you're away from family and friends and you can't have a proper relationship," Brydan said.

"It's very hard but it's rewarding if you play well."

The players live with the fear of failure every time they step on to the court and know they will ultimately have to decide how long to keep going.

"In the next couple of years I'll have to start looking at other alternatives as a back-up plan if it doesn't pay off," Brydan said.

"The thing is that if you've grown up doing something and you're reasonably good at it then you've got to give it a crack. I don't want to be one of those guys that gets old and dies wondering."

Topics:  tennis


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

CWA going strong after 80 years

80 YEARS STRONG: Valentine Plains CWA president Joy Jensen (left) with 93-year-old CWA member Vera Geall.

Valentine Plains CWA celebrates eight decades serving the community.

Crucial to slip, slop, slap in sunburnt country

SUN SAFE: James Hatch, Connor Dorrell and Jason Law stay sun safe at the Biloela Swimming Pool.

CQ's melanoma rate lowest in state but rising.

Farmers, backpackers welcome end to tax fiasco

UNCERTAINTY OVER: Richard Fairley (left) is hosting Chris Brown and Dot Baker at his Biloela farm.

Biloela farmer relieved the 'shambles' is finally resolved.

Local Partners

Biloela bank manager rocks her retirement

Long-time The Rock employee Judy Pender will be the first female president of the Biloela Rotary Club.

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

EXCLUSIVE: Meet Robert Irwin, wildlife photographer

SNAPPER: Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion.

Steve's boy has a passion for photography

Louis Tomlinson's tribute to late mother

Louis Tomlinson's new single is a tribute to his late mother.

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!