From College to Pro: Their Recruitment Journey
College is definitely an important part of some Pro athletes' journeys. Many Pro tennis players have come out to share their stories and the hardships they experienced during their college career. Continue reading to learn more about the recruitment stories of some of the best tennis players around the world.
It’s not surprising that college tennis could be a major stepping stone for players to make it on a professional level. Players such as John McEnroe (Stanford), John Isner (University of Georgia), Kevin Anderson (University of Illinois), and Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) all experienced the importance of college in their journey towards a Professional Tennis career. Being a student-athlete shaped the players’ careers, making them more mature and responsible which positively impacted their professional lives. Daily intensive practice and conditioning while also keeping up with their school work was not easy to balance. It took years for any player to achieve and compete at a very high level.
In a brief interview at Tennis.com, Jennifer Brady (UCLA) said “I had to adapt to the student-athlete lifestyle, where the student part was more important than the athlete part. It forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me to become more responsible and independent.”
At the recent Australian Open 2022, many of the players were former college players. There were actually several former college athletes who made their debuts at the 2022 Australian Open such as Arianne Hartono (University of Mississippi), Emina Bektas (University of Michigan), Robin Anderson (UCLA), and Aldila Sutjiadi (University of Kentucky).
Aldila Sutjiadi said in her recruitment story posted in a YouTube vlog interview that in order to get noticed by college coaches from top NCAA Division 1 schools, she had to compete at highly competitive tournaments such as the ITF tournaments (up to Grade 1, the highest level), a Junior Grand Slam, and the WTA pro circuit. The University of Washington, University of Kentucky, Auburn University, University of Alabama, and Louisiana State University were some of the schools she mentioned in the interview that were interested in her.
Knowing from those types of tournaments alone, it took years of commitment, dedication, and discipline of practice that started at a young age.
“In my final year of high school, college coaches started reaching out to me for recruitment,” Sutjiadi said in the interview. “I learned college coaches discovered players from the ITF tournaments and now the UTR website as well.”
Ranked at the high of #42 ITF junior, Sutjiadi got offers from the University of Kentucky and University of Washington before she finally decided to join the Wildcats on a full scholarship.
Essentially, that’s the ideal situation for college recruitment — to get noticed, reached out by, and recruited by the coaches. However, the journey to the top rank is never easy for everyone. Many other universities have opportunities to offer to many other players. The key is to find the university that is the right fit for the player, which is our goal here at USP. Using the UTR and match play video as the tools to measure players’ skills, we strive and guide our players to be placed in a university where they can be successful.
– Lauren Lang, Certified USP Advisor