There are stories that thrill, that tear, that inspire and that are necessary so that people who in the future are at that juncture, have something to hold on to and know how a story can end. Valeriya Soloyeva he knows that hers is one of those stories and that is why he has decided to open his heart, to bare his soul, behind a racket, behind that tool that promised him paradise and ended up taking her to hell. Noah Rubin’s project, Behind The Racquet, It is nourished not only by stories of success and improvement, but also by dramas in which tennis is the villain, and at the same time, the lifeguard to cling to when you have hit rock bottom.
Noah Rubin, the man behind the fantastic project ‘Behind the racquet’, tells how the idea was born and what he has achieved with it.
This Russian tennis player born 27 years ago has lived much longer than most people her age. As a child she demonstrated an innate ability for tennis and there came a time when her family made a risky bet; it was necessary to leave the country, for the family to separate so that Valeriya’s father would accompany her to the United States. There the prestigious Nick Saviano, a demanding man who set himself the goal of polishing the innate talent of that young woman who came to Florida to become the best in the world. He was, in junior category, winning the Orange bowl in 2005 and amazing the world with its potential and attitude.
“I was the typical girl that everyone gave as an example. I always listened to the parents of my rivals telling their daughters to pay attention to the way I play and perform on the court. I was 13 years old and I signed a sponsorship contract with Nike and Babolat, as well as with a representative agency. Everyone painted me a splendid future and they did not contemplate that I would do more than one thing: win, always, “reveals the Russian in a shocking story.” I felt so much pressure and responsibility for this situation … I was just a child of 14 years old, I didn’t know how to handle the fact that every day they told me I had to win. I understood tennis as something fun, I enjoyed it on the court, and it ended up being a stressful place for me, “he says.
Dam of the anxiety Because of an environment that did not know how to handle her needs, Valeriya broke inside. “I didn’t think about my game, I didn’t focus on improving my tennis because the only thing I was asked to do was win. Every loss was a punishment, I totally lost confidence. I saw that the girls my age, when I won, progressed a lot and I was stuck. My representation agency was nervous, my sponsors asked what was going on. I needed my mother, but she stayed in Russia and it was my father who accompanied me in Florida. He never understood anything that was happening , she got very angry every time I lost and that made me even worse, “says the Russian on one of the most problematic issues in young sports values.
“I do not remember a single minute that I enjoyed tennis for many years,” says a woman who became 163 of the WTA ranking in 2013, after winning three ITF tournaments. “I just wanted to go to school, have friends, but I had no escape. What people see is that 10% of young people who become professionals, but there are 90% who stay on the road and many of them hide stories like this, and they end up hating tennis, “says Solovyeva.
How did you get out of this bottomless pit? “I ended up leaving tennis a short time later and dedicated myself to being trainer. My motivation to do so is to make society aware that children’s space and time must be respected. Parents should maintain a close and loving relationship with them, but never overwhelm them or push them to the limit. I forgave my father a long time later, I was tired of the rancor I felt towards him. I know many girls in my situation, who then never spoke to their family again and live totally destabilized. I didn’t want to be like that, “he stressed.
“As a coach, I want to provide a safe environment for the girls who train with me, who feel loved, who see that they matter to theirs and that there are much more important things to win or lose at those ages. If you want to dedicate yourself to tennis, there are a very long and demanding race ahead. The only way to start it is to really love the game. For me that was impossible because of how my environment managed my career, so I want to avoid the same thing happening to others. ” This is Valeriya Soloyeva, a woman whose history can open the eyes of many and that all the parents of promising young people should read and meditate on her.