by slaven brnjakovic
Becoming a professional tennis player is really hard and requires a lot of training and financial backing. In my area, we don’t have many tennis players that emerge and become competent at a European or even world level. Kids have potential but due to lack of financial support, they often decide to pursue other callings. This is a story of a child that decided to pursue his dream and reach the stardom of world tennis.
When Daniel was eight and was walking with his father alongside the clay court tennis fields, he simply said: “I want to play there one day”. His father proudly decided to fulfill his child’s wish and signed him up for the local tennis club. His father was an electrician and his mother worked at a local mall, so they weren’t that wealthy. However, Daniel showed great potential and was one of the most successful young tennis players in the country. When he grew older, he watched matches from clay court legend Rafael Nadal and tried to learn his moves. He had a dream, a dream stronger than any other feeling in the world.
He played numerous tournaments in his young age, mostly at the domestic level. Although times were hard, he never backed down and his father supported him as much as possible. The business wasn’t going well and the financial crisis entered their home as well. Just around the time he was 12 years old, his father died in a traffic accident when he was returning from a day at work. Daniel repeatedly asked about his father, but received no answer. When his mother said that his father won’t be showing up again, he burst into tears. He wanted his father to come see him at a local tournament. He wanted to give up, but eventually decided to do it for his father.
He dedicated the win on that tournament to his father and received an invitation to a bigger tournament abroad. However, in order to go there he needed financial support, something he lacked since the death of his father. This tournament was important because it was sponsored by ATP, which seeks new talent and funds their development in much better conditions. He eventually gave up and thought he had no chance of ever reaching there.
But, one day as he came home from practice his mother produced him a surprise he will never forget. His father left him in his will new tennis equipment that he wanted to give him on his 13th birthday. Alongside that equipment, he left him some money so that he can fund his tournament. His father knew about the tournament and had so much faith in his son winning the local one that he decided to buy this in advance.
Little Daniel grew up to be a successful tennis player and always lists his father as an inspiration. Without his belief and his trust, he would probably be just another player that went through the local tennis school.