I started playing when I was 7 or 8. My father was playing tennis, so he was taking me and my brother to the courts so we were basically brought up on the courts.
I first started hitting against the wall and later, when I was like 10-11 - I took my first lessons and started playing some local tournaments. I would like to be humble, but the truth is that I was playing a lot and winning a lot of local U12, U14, U16 and U18 tournaments, was ranked #2 U18 in my region.
But it was of course on the amateur level (although I think that if someone took care of my game then - I would be at least recognizable among tennis players in national rankings). I used to travel from one local tournament to the other as a youngster, playing a lot and practicing 2-3 times per week.
As an U18 player I played against a former vice-champion of my country, losing 3-6 0-6 despite leading 3-0 in first
. I also played against one pro, ranked #200 at that time and lost 0-6 0-6. Cool story is that this vice-champion after this match decided to play doubles with me (doubles started day later) and we reached the final in which we lost to obviously better pair. I remember that I choked as hell in that final and was doublefaulting like Coria in his best days.
My worst memory comes from one U18 tournament, when I was playing against a guy who was clearly better overall and I was his pigeon for sure. I couldn't beat him from the baseline, so in that one match I decided to be a Stefan Edberg and started serve-and-volleying all the time, even though it was on clay. He couldn't cope with that at all and I was leading 6-2 4-2. But during one rush to the net - something happened to my thigh and it appeared that it is a torn tendinitis. I couldn't even walk and had to retire. So the results was Him def. Me 2-6 2-4, ret.
Nowadays you would say that it was a blatant fix
, but I got injured really and couldn't play for some months.
This was probably the end. During that break I met a bad company of friends
(who are still my friends) and we started partying hard. I met a girl (who happens to be my wife nowadays
) - and this was it. I stopped playing, didnt have time for that, moved to the other city for studies, where I couldn't find any decent partner to play with. And that's the story....
Now I am 30 and I almost don't play at all. Life, work, family....When I go to the courts sometimes - I can't hit three balls in a row.
My story started with a father and it will end with a father. He says that his life will be fulfilled when one of his sons finally beats him. And so far neither managed to do it....The last time we played was one year ago and I lost 0-6 6-7. And he is 55 now, I am 30....But he plays twice per week, I play twice per year.
Cool story, bro....But true