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February 9, 2024

Game, set, life: A love-hate relationship with tennis

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Tennis is a worldwide sport that has a lot of influence on people and gathers a lot of money and business. I started playing tennis in Argentina when I was four years old and my biggest dream was always being a professional tennis player. Along my life, that dream started to be really far away since money, dedication, opportunities, travels and support is needed to reach the top. Tennis has always been part of my life, and my biggest dreams were always with this sport. But sometimes when things do not go as you want, you need to start looking for alternatives and more dreams or opportunities can show up.

In 2020, I was ready to quit tennis since it was something that I was struggling with. I was feeling really mentally and physically tired from practicing every day, conditioning, lifting, eating well and leaving things that I wanted to do because I had responsibilities with tennis. It was at that moment that I decided to make a change in my life and try something new. Soccer has also been part of my life so it was that moment that a club called me for a try out. I was sure that if I passed that tryout, I would have quit tennis and moved to soccer. The day of my tryout, the lockdown of COVID started in Argentina. I think it was a sign for me to know that that was not my moment to leave tennis. During the pandemic I knew about an opportunity to go to the U.S. to earn a degree thanks to a tennis scholarship. At the beginning, I really debated the idea, but tennis is my life and I didn’t want to give up without first trying. So, after considering many schools, my best option was Campbellsville University (CU).

In August 2022, I came to CU with high expectations and excited to play tennis. In the U.S., I realized that tennis in Argentina and tennis in the U.S. are completely different.

As I said, tennis is an expensive sport, you need a lot of money to pay for practices, coaches, travel, gear, tournaments, etc. And if you don’t have enough money, you might need to find a sponsor or help. But in Argentina, it is really difficult to find help since the organizations who help tennis players focus their attention and help players that they know are going to do something good for the sport. That was one reason for me to quit tennis, since after many years, I was tired of trying and trying without receiving support. Moreover, in Argentina it can happen that whenever you finish high school and you need to go to college, a lot of athletes quit their sport since college is like a full-time “job” and people don’t have enough time to study, go to class, go to practice, rest and have a social life. That is why they prioritize education first over sport.

However, tennis in the USA is different. In the U.S. I found the opportunity to go to college and play a sport. I got a tennis scholarship and that is why I am here. Playing tennis at the collegiate level is something amazing and with a lot of opportunities. Many student-athletes go pro whenever they graduate. This is because college tennis prepares you to be ready to be professional. You can also find and meet a lot of people that want to help you with your career, and you also have many opportunities to do fundraising and earn money. I knew that coming here was going to be really positive and with a lot of growth as a person and as a tennis player, but after graduating and after 18 years of playing tennis, I know that my tennis road is over.

At the same time, not only are opportunities different in Argentina and the USA, but also I consider Argentinian people really passionate. So when I came to the U.S., I really noticed a difference in attitudes between me and American people. This might be because of our essence, but in my case, I worked really hard to come here and earn my place, so I want to show everyone that I am here and I can do good things for this sport. I always wanted to represent an institution and not just play for me, since in Argentina we don’t have college sports and you play tournaments by yourself without representing any association. So I find college tennis highly competitive where, everytime that I need to represent CU, I do the best I can, leaving everything inside and outside of the court. That is my motto since I started playing tennis.

I have been playing this sport for the past 16 years of my life and the love-hate relationship is still there. I think that this sport is one of the most difficult ones. You are always on your own and you need to solve the problems on your own. That is why you need to have a strong mindset and that was always my weakness point. I love tennis, because as i said, It’s been part of my life since I was very young. But at this time, my mind is burned out. I’m ready to finish college and focus my attention on working in the film industry. I came to the U.S. with doubts and with the uncertainty of not knowing what I was going to find. But after one year and a half I can say that it was the best decision ever. Having the opportunity to earn a degree, play tennis, have a scholarship, have the support of my family and friends and meet new people that become my family, I couldn’t have asked for something better.

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About the Contributor
Clara Asprella is a sophomore from Argentina. She is majoring in film and minoring in broadcast and digital media. This is her first year reporting for The Campus Times. She's part of the Campbellsville University women’s tennis team. She also works for the CU Sports Information Department as a videographer. She loves taking photos and videos of everything, but especially of sports.
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