Tennis player Blaise Bicknell gives general advice on how to advance to professional tennis

At the secondary school level in Jamaica many talented tennis athletes crave the ablility to play professional tennis, but the majority tend not to pursue it because they do not see any clear path.

In recent years, since the induction of the new president of Tennis Jamaica, the organization has become more conducive to the development of the sport. They ensure that the coaches are versed on training guidelines and the officials adhere to the highest protocol.

Typically, those who are able to afford private tutoring and the selected few who really excel at the sport during their time in high school are those who will have the better chance of pursuing a professional career.

This article should help to outline a general path for athletes, so that they have an idea of how to get to play in professional tournaments. 

To do so we spoke to Jamaican tennis player, Blaise Bicknell. He shared how he successfully moved from the high school stage to now playing college tennis.

Courtesy of the University of Florida

Who is Blaise Bicknell

Blaise started his tennis journey at the age of 2. Now, at the age of 19, Blaise is currently ranked 1400 in the ATP rankings. He mentioned that he is on a mission to improve his ranking by playing more Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournaments.

He is currently at the University of Florida. Just recently, he played an instrumental role in securing his team the victory in the college tournament.

Blaise will be representing Jamaica in the Davis Cup which commences at the end of June.

Road to the Professional Tennis

To become a professional, you have to train very hard. According to ManofMany, professional tennis players have to maintain a routine that keeps them lean and agile.

“Off-court training is just as important as training on the court,” Blaise said. He elaborated, “Spending quality time in the Gym as well as foot drills helps with your movement on the court.”

Blaise told Outsteppe that before he could play college tennis, he had to play a lot of junior tournaments. This was not only to build his name and reputation, but also to garner experience.

“Be Consistent, try to train for at least 3 to 4 times a week,” Blaise stated. He continued, “In high school try to play international tournaments, playing International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior tournaments. After you gain exposure, it is likely that you will get recruited to play college tennis where the coaches will prepare you to advance to professional tennis.”

Playing tournaments allowed him to obtain offers from colleges abroad, from which all he had to do was chose which school would benefit him the most.

The University of Florida pushed him to develop holistically, focusing not only on his physical and mental strength, but also on his professionalism.

Professionalism is just as important as being able to play tennis well. Your ability to engage with sponsors, reporters and even your colleagues will go along way in developing your brand.

Courtesy of the University of Florida

Is there a difference between college tennis and professional tennis?

Blaise said, “The level of tennis is almost the same, but what really changes is the speed and the importance of having good serves and returns.”

Therefore, it is essential that you master your technique and develop your skill from early so that when the tennis games get faster, you will make less unforced errors.

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