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.

Industry Summit aims at drive market

(From left) Peter Homan, Albert Stafford, Liz Ward and Gabby Walters were among the speakers at the Banana Shire Industry Summit on Tuesday October 11.

Dozens of local business owners attended the event.

WATCH: Students tried to burn down two CQ schools

Two 15-year-olds have been charged with arson and attempted arson.

TWO teenagers face serious charges after arson attack.

Teens charged for Biloela school fire

Police are investigating a fire that destroyed a building at Biloela State High School overnight.

The fire destroyed a school building early on Saturday morning.

Local Partners

Howell fends off challenge from Voss at Biloela barrel racing

Both riders posted excellent times in the final round of the year.

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Woolies announces closure of Ipswich store

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June