Speaking to BehindTheRacquet.com, 26-years-old Thiago Monteiro opened up about his career beginnings.

The Brazilian was never really successful at the Grand Slam tournaments. He reached the first round at the Australian Open and US Open and the second round at the Roland Garros and Wimbledon. However, he has won 5 Challenger and 5 Futures titles and is part of the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings. Now, he opened up about his beginnings when he said:

“I am adopted. When I was born, my mother was recovering from breast cancer. She wanted to adopt because she thought I could be a shining star in her life. I owe everything to her. I never wanted to meet my biological parents because I don’t think it’s necessary. My mother raised me and nothing can change that. I am one of the first high-level players from North Brazil. I come from a humble family, not poor but not rich. I grew up with my mother, brother, and three sisters. I never met my father, my parents are separated and we have no contact with him,” said Monteiro.

“Growing up, I played tennis and football. At age 14, I left home to train at an academy, that was three and half hour flight from my hometown, in the south of Brazil. I lived there for five years while tennis transitioned from my hobby to a professional routine. Nobody in my city believed I could reach the top but my older brother was very supportive of my career. He would drive me 10 hours to play junior events,” admitted Monteiro.

“In 2015, I had match point in the final round of qualifying for a challenger event in Slovakia. I was up 9-8 in the third set tiebreak and was one point away from making the main draw. I ran for a ball and heard a crack. The umpire stopped the match and called an ambulance. I could not move. I went to the hospital and the next day, I had to return to Brazil alone where I was told I had completely ruptured my ACL. Doctors outside Brazil told me I did not need surgery but doctors at home wanted to operate because they could earn more money. If I had surgery, there was a chance I would never play tennis again,” Monteiro said.

“For four months, I did not play matches while I healed. I missed tennis. I did not know how to do anything else. For the first time, I was not sure what was going to happen to me. I went to my academy and saw everybody practicing. When I got back on the court, I was positive and had better practices. The next year, I had the best season of my career,” admitted Monteiro. “It is my duty to give back what my family gave to me. We are not rich so we need money to pay bills and get food on the table. I want to provide good conditions for my family.”

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Author: Erik Virostko