Interview with Nick Monroe-Professional Tennis Player

I interviewed Nicholas Monroe, a professional tennis player recently.  Currently, he is ranked #53 in the world in doubles.  He achieved his career high ranking of #51 in doubles this year and #253 in singles in 2011.  He made the transition from singles and doubles to solely focusing on his doubles career in April of 2012. Nick started playing tennis at the age of four and played most sports until the age of fourteen.  By the age of 11 Nick was focusing more energy and time on the tennis court including competing in the prestigious Challenge Cup in the 12’s for the top 36 boys in the nation.  At the age of 14 Nick was the #1 ranked junior in the nation in singles in his age group.   Nick went on to become an All-American at the University of North Carolina graduating in 2004 and turning pro following graduation.  The following are questions and answers from the interview.

Nick, you have had a great year on the tour, what do you attribute that to?

“The key has been focusing on daily improvement and staying in the moment.  It is easy to get caught up in the wins and losses, but we can play four weeks in a row and lose 1st round in tournaments and have the rest of the week off of competition.  We have to focus on improving every time we step on the court so that we don’t waste a moment.”

Where does this focus on improvement come from?

“My focus on improvement just comes from my drive to be the best I can be-to see how far I can go.”

Who have you practiced with that has changed your perspective?

“I would have to say this year practicing with the Bryan Bros was an eye opener.  They are relentless in their practice.  They are so intense with every ball.  Practice is extremely important to them.  I would also have to say practicing with Pete Sampras in 2007, Marin Cilic, and Don Johnson, former #1 doubles player in the world in 2003-04.  With Pete what impressed me the most was his preparation for practice.  He didn’t work his way into the practice with me.  He was ready to go prior to hitting a ball.  It looked like he had already worked out physically prior to tennis practice.  He would be sweating from fitness.  He didn’t warm-up for the first 15 minutes and work his way into the practice, instead he was 100% from the first ball.  The speed and heaviness of his ball really impressed me.”

When you turned pro in 2004, your goal was to make it as a singles player.  In April of 2012 you transitioned to a career as a doubles specialist.  How difficult was this transition?

“I never thought about hanging up my rackets along the way because I always felt like I was improving and enjoying the journey.  I loved being able to play the qualies in the Grand Slams and be in the locker room with the greats of the game.  In 2011 I started thinking about transitioning from a singles career to a doubles career because I had some great success without having my sole focus on the doubles game.  I thought if I would really commit to the doubles, I could improve my ranking quickly.”

What were your goals for 2013?

“My goals were to break into the top 100 in the world in the doubles rankings and focus on improving my game and staying in the moment each day.”

Since you blew your 2013 goal out of the water by achieving a career high ranking of #51 this year, what are your goals for 2014?

“I would have to say it is getting inside the top 30 in the world because this puts us in all of the top tournaments from the Grand Slams to the Masters Series events around the globe.  Also, the theme of continuing to work hard, improve, and stay in the moment are central themes to my mentality and success.”

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a professional tennis player?

“I miss being home sometimes.  The life of a professional tennis player means living out of a bag traveling the globe.  I have played 35 weeks so far in 2013 and only been home in Austin, TX for 4 weeks this year because a lot of time you have only one week off in-between tournaments, so if we are in Europe for example, there is no sense in flying home to turn right back around immediately.  However, I wouldn’t change this experience for the world because I have gotten to travel the world and live out my dream of being a professional tennis player.  I grew up watching tennis on television, and I am getting to live that.”

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