So how does Andrew replace his passion for tennis these days? ‘’It’s difficult, that’s probably why am I these days, I don’t want to say depressed, but a little dissatisfied with myself. But you know it’s tough, that’s the tough part of life, you get a rhythm in something and it’s very hard to break that rhythm you know. I have a job now; it makes money but it’s obviously not something I want to do for the rest of my life, so it’s also very difficult to break that. It’s the first job I had in Amsterdam so I don’t know any other industry here. That’s why I moved here. So if I stop with this I don’t know what to do next. If I want to stay here, do I try to get a job in the same city? A new career? Or do I move to another city and start all over again?” Even though he does not have a specific goal for his career he knows what he wants. “Sunshine is a goal. I would like to move to sunshine again. Not Los Angeles though. I don’t think I can ever go back to California. I love Californians in a lot of ways and my family is there but I like Europe too. Maybe I feel like here in Europe I don’t have that history that I have in California. There is no past here. So it’s kinda like a fresh start in a way. It’s kind of weird.”

Since Andrew moved to Amsterdam and is not near tennis at all he talks about the struggles of having a dream for the future. “It’s hard, you get those little ideas, what you could do. It’s funny if you look at tennis, it has been 22 years in my life and I have put so much time in it, but it did not work out. So it’s funny to think that I have spent so much of my life playing this stupid sport and now here I am, not even anywhere near it anymore. You know, I don’t want to call it a waste but it’s funny. Sometimes you dream now and then you start thinking about all the effort it would take to achieve that again. Because you already did it in tennis and maybe it holds you back a bit when you failed at one thing. Not necessarily failed but did not reach your expectations. You know you are little bit more conscious with putting your effort into something. But like in a couple of years, shit pop out few babies and having a bar at the beach, make some Tarzans you know. I just want a relaxing life, I don’t need a lot. I would not say I’m unmotivated but I’m also pretty content. I don’t need fancy cars and all these stuff you know. It’s maybe because I came from a family where I had it all. It’s not that interesting to me anymore. I’ll be happy just with a little beach hut. To be my own boss, make my own hours, having my own bar, kind of thing. That’s my dream.”

“Sometimes you dream now and then you start thinking about all the effort it would take to achieve that again”

And how does he deal with watching tennis on TV? ”Well you still have that thing in your head of ‘’Oh I could do that’’. But then the second you step on the court again it’s like ‘’No, I can’t’’. It’s a hard thing to grasp; I still have in my mind that I can serve 140 miles an hour but then I go ahead and hit the serve and my entire body cracks. –and then i’m like fuck this shit I’d rather just go and have a beer.“ He laughs. “That’s what goes on in my mind. The motivation is gone. I can either live in pain and suffering and feel my soul being sucked out of me or just have a beer. I choose the latter.” When thinking of friends who still play the Futures tournaments all over again each year, he thinks that fear of “life after” is involved. “Guys like top 50 that’s a different level, they made a few millions, so they can live comfortably when they are done. And if they want to start some little academy they have the name to back it up but there are a lot of players out there who are all good. Number 500 can beat number 1 in the world in a practice match but it’s the doing it when it counts that separates everyone. It’s sad there are players with the same skillsets who just don’t make it. And it’s usually a mental thing. It’s mental.

I honestly think that those first couple of years of college if I would have stayed in Illinois, I was really motivated my freshman year. Even If I was ineligible I was still practicing, still going to workouts, weight room, I was still doing everything, so I was like ok this is just a brief period, I’ll get through this, but then when the following summer happened, the coach left, the new coach did not want to get me my scholarship back, and my dad was all pissed off so I was going back home and then I just left. He went back to LA, did not know anyone, and thought to himself: “Everyone is at school and I’m sitting here at Manhattan Beach in the fall, not at school, not playing tennis like.” I was two days away from starting the semester in Illinois and my dad said no You are not going. That was like the first hit.

“My dad was kind of right in that with professional sport, the percentage of people that can do it is so small. You cannot commit part time. If being professional is in your mind set, it’s a lifestyle. That’s what you are doing. A talent only takes you so far and that’s the thing, you need to know in your head that that’s the only thing you want to do. I know I like the competing part but I also like letting go and having a parting night. I’m sorry, Federer is not going out raging couple days before playing a tournament, I know he is not. So it’s things like this. I enjoyed the party because it felt like something new. New environment for me, outside of the tennis world, and I was so demotivated by all the things that happened. It was a depressing time.

“I can either live in pain and suffering and feel my soul being sucked out of me or just have a beer. I choose the latter.”

What makes Andrew happy these days is techno music and he also played with the idea of DJ’ing. “Because of tennis I was always afraid to commit to something new. It’s like,to go through all the pain and suffering again. And then end up with nothing.” But has he found some sort of activity that gives him the same satisfaction that tennis once gave him? “Traveling, discovering new places, trying new places, that is the only thing that still motivates me. Going to a foreign city and and just kind of wander. Tennis is such a repetitive thing you know? Day in and day out the same all over and over over over again. It’s all repetition. So when you go and do new things, it keeps you alive.” Andrew does not know yet where he will be in a year, two or three from now. All he knows is that the story must continue. “Sometimes I walk in Amsterdam and I see a random cafe and think that ‘Oh I have never had a beer in that café, let’s see.’ Of course it’s not different but then i’m sitting in a different room and wonder what the story here is. Everyone has one.”

 

 

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