"You have to have thick skin in this sport" - Danielle Collins speaks on challenges faced early in her career

Thursday, 16 May 2024 at 07:58
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Tennis star Danielle Collins could be seen as one of the veterans on the WTA tour. The 30-year old recently announced she would be retiring at the end of this year and took some time to delve into her tennis upbringing and rise to the top.
Collins has been experiencing a resurgence of sorts on the WTA tour this season. Despite her commitment to walking away from the sport by the end of the year, Collins has not displayed any lack of passion or heart. The American won her maiden WTA 1000 title at the Miami Open in March, before lifting her second straight title in Charleston. Collins has shown little sign of slowing down, as she defeated Victoria Azarenka to reach the semifinals of the 2024 Rome Open.
In an interview on the Served Podcast with Andy Roddick, the former Australian Open runner-up gave fans a peek at her upbringing and route to the WTA circuit. Collins admitted she did not grow up wealthy, and had to use her collegiate experience to breakthrough on the WTA Tour.
"You have to have a thick skin in this sport, or you’re not gonna make it very far," said Collins. "I needed those years to become tougher. I didn’t come from financial opportunity. My mom was a preschool teacher.. My dad had a small landscaping business. I did not grow up with much. I think in order to have a tennis career you have to have some type of financial support. Not coming from financial opportunity, college gave me a great pathway. I was able to connect with the right people.

"Once I was done with college I connected with some amazing people who were part of the Academia world and they were able to help me with the resources I needed to start my career. I had some great mentorship through that. If I hadn’t gone to college, I wouldn’t have connected with those people. It ended up working out for me in the best way possible. It really gave me time to evolve and mature physically and emotionally. I was not ready at 16 or 17 years old [to go professional].
"I don’t think tennis players get enough credit for how hard this environment can be and the challenges that come along with running a business, but also managing the pressures, not only from yourself, but your family, those around you, the world… living your life in the public eye is also not always an easy thing to navigate through. Especially as a young kid. I’m really grateful I had those years to mature and develop a strong resilience. You have to have a thick skin in this sport, or you’re not gonna make it very far. I needed those years to become tougher."

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