BTB: You’ve been playing competitive tennis for eleven years now. How did it all begin?
TB: I started playing tennis when I was five, and to be honest I wasn’t the biggest fan of the sport at the time. With my dad as a coach and my sister playing tennis at the time, I was surrounded by the sport and the more time I spent in and around the sport, the more it grew on me.
BTB: Before the pandemic, we saw that you played in about 10-15 USTA events each year in 2019 and 2018 or about 1 per month. What was your typical training and tournament schedule like every month?
TB: My typical schedule for training would be around six hours of practice per day. For tournaments, I like to get to the location as soon as possible so I can get adjusted to the climate and get a few practice sets in with other players.
BTB: The pandemic has challenged the world of sports. We read in another publication that you were looking forward to trying to earn your way into the US Open Junior Tournament for 2020 which was cancelled due to coronavirus. Tell us how the pandemic has impacted your tennis season.
TB: The pandemic affected me a lot this year professionally because I felt like I was going to continue to raise my ranking. I reached the finals of the ITF G4 singles, the quarterfinals of the doubles, and I just missed out on the Australian Open by 12 spots. With all of my progress, I rose from 1000 to 500 but the pandemic stopped that forward momentum for a time. Now is the time to continue to work hard so I can keep performing at a high level and hopefully get the results to show for it.
BTB: What are your tennis career goals and post-tennis career goals?
TB: My tennis career goals are to break into the ATP top 50, to play and go deep in all of the grand slams, and to hopefully win some. In terms of looking past tennis, I hope to give back to my community by opening my own tennis foundation so I can expose young kids to the game, who didn’t have the same opportunities as me.
BTB: We read the 2016 New York Times article about Nick Kyrgios where you were mentioned prominently which must have been very exciting. Are you still a fan and can you share anything interesting that the Times article left out?
TB: Yes I’m still a very big fan of Nick. He’s like a big brother, we talk pretty much every day. He gives me good advice, answers my questions, and just guides me down the right path. I’m learning a lot from him and his experiences. We’ve even spoken about playing each other on home soil, which would be an Australian Open for him and U.S Open for me.
BTB: At Behind The Bench, our mission is to empower the next generation so what suggestions or advice do you have to young tennis players who are just starting your same journey?
TB: My advice to young tennis players is to always have fun and to give it your all. Win or lose you never know who is watching, and you owe yourself and your opponent the respect to bring your A-game.