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.

Rainbow club shines at Gold Coast regatta

Rainbow Region Dragon Boat Club at the Gold Coast's Broadwater regatta.

Teams battled it out in blistering heat

FORECAST: Perfect storm for a lazy weekend

Rain is on the way on the Northern Rivers.

Much needed heat relief expected to continue

Regional fathers needed to fight against male suicide rates

Regional fathers are needed in the fight against male suicide rates.

If you're a father aged 28-32 take part in this widespread survey

Local Partners

Tower built, now the recruits are coming

SINCE the opening of the new Marine Rescue tower in Ballina in October last year, the volunteer organisation has had at least a dozen new recruits.

BIG RIDE: Matt to bring out smiles for Smiddy

LONG WAY ROUND: Matt Muir raises his bike in triumph on his ride last year.

Fundraiser at Yamba Shores Tavern ahead of 800km charity ride

Buddhism pioneer shares life's mission

Lama Ole Nydahl will be presenting a new documentary in Ballina.

About the first ever Western students of Buddhism in Nepal

Mr Grey is back, just fifty shades darker

SCREENING: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in a scene from the first trailer for the movie Fifty Shades Darker.

Advance screenings next week

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

TOWARD the end of last month’s Golden Globes ceremony, the producer of the nominated drama Moonlight made a surprise onstage appearance: Brad Pitt.

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Carson Kressley brings 'camp' to I'm a Celebrity jungle

"I am not all Park Avenue and daffodils” ... Carson Kressley.

Meet the "campest” campmate to star on I'm a Celebrity.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mystery already solved

FILE- This undated file photo provided by Disney shows Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the film, \"Star Wars: The Force Awakens.\" Hasbro said it is changing its Star Wars Monopoly set after an 8-year-old girl became upset that Rey, the movie's female heroine, was not included as a figure along with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. (Disney/Lucasfilm via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

A key mystery surrounding the title of episode eight has been solved

Kids' game "full of f**king paedophiles" according to dad

A mortified dad has expressed serious concerns over an online game

Lisa Marie Presley's ex caught with child pics: court

Lisa Marie Presley, at right, and her husband, Michael Lockwood back in 2010. FILE

Lisa Marie, 49, claimed she was left “sick to her stomach”

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

Clarence River island paradise selling for $5M

Former Ballina councillor Margaret Howes is selling her island getaway.

GALLERY: Tropical getaway with beaches and airstrip put on market.

What $11.9m can get you on Coast's most exclusive street

29-31 Wyuna Drive Noosaville Qld 4566

This is what a cool $11.9m can get you

How a first home buyer built house with no deposit

NEARLY THERE: Construction on the first house to home orphans at Umoja began in January.



Photo Contributed

His home will be completed later this year.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!