TTT #20: Stefan Palosi

My grandfather, who at the time, knew Andrei Pavel and his family, insisted I play tennis. 

I went for a try out and when I entered the gym and I saw all the rackets and the coloured tennis balls (red and orange, red being my favourite colour) so I told my father that I want to start tennis as well as continue football. 

I started playing tennis at 5 and I love it more by the day. 

Since when I was very young I idolised Andrei Pavel. I had a racket from him and used to play in my grandparents house with it. 

At the age of 8-9 I discover Federer. For me it was something “wow”. When I saw him play the first time, it seemed to me that he was a God of tennis and I said that one day I would like to play against him and even beat him. Around 9-10 years, I have really set my primary goal. That’s to get to world number one. That’s when I gave up football because I realised that one can’t do both at performance levels, especially because one has to dedicate to this sport fully. 

From then on, I learned a lot; I matured faster than the other children because I had to make important decisions on and off the court. Also, I made a lot of friends from all over world which gave me a broader perspective. Tennis become a new life for me. Everything I did and I do is be great pleasure and joy because I know that at this moment not many people can create a career in tennis, and I had the opportunity to do so, although I didn’t always get it my way. But I am lucky because things fell in place and I always had unconditional support from my family and my team. 

I am grateful to my grandfather who showed me this path and who was only around to see me play by the age of 11, when I won the National Championship in singles in doubles. I was extremely sad when he passed, but I also got motivated to continue playing and to get on the podium of the biggest tournaments in the world. I will always dedicate my wins to him. My family played the most important role in my career and I am thankful for all the love and support they offer me. I am also grateful for all my coaches who helped build the person and tennis player I am today.