From Farmer to Thrill Seeker: The Life of Tommy Paul | ATP tour

In a few weeks, Tommy Paul will be on his mother’s farm in New Jersey, caring for over 100 animals, driving a tractor and pulling trees. But for now, the American is focused on pursuing one of the best tournaments of his career at Wimbledon.

Three years after losing in the last qualifying round to Jiri Vesely, Paul turned the tables against the Czech and reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

The victory on the No 3 court marked another defining moment for the 25-year-old, who is making his main draw debut at the Championships this week. After enjoying an exceptional junior career, which saw him win the Roland Garros men’s singles title in 2015, Paul won his first title at tour level in November, when he currently sits in 32nd place. of the Pepperstone ATP rankings.

Following his success, Paul is now used to the lights and glamor of the Tour. However, that’s a world away from his life in the United States, where he frequently trades his racket for farm tools when he visits his mother in New Jersey.

“My mother and stepfather live on a farm in South Jersey, where they have around 100 chickens, six sheep, two dogs, a horse and a cat. I grew up in North Carolina, but my mom moved back to South Jersey when I turned pro. That’s where she grew up,” Paul told ATPTour.com. “Animals have built themselves. It’s something for her to do. When she’s not at work, she’s off the farm.

“After Wimbledon I will go home and help on the farm. They have barrels of hay in the field. I use the tractor to move the barrels. Anything from that to pulling trees from the ground. I’m on it. Working around the farm is fun.

Ever since he was young, Paul has had a love for animals and adventure. The 25-year-old, who owned a dog when he was younger, believes his interests outside of tennis have been crucial in helping him cope with the pressures of life on the Tour.

“I’ve always tried to be an outside type, it helps me disconnect,” Paul said. “Tennis is outside, but even when I’m not playing tennis, I try to stay outside. Whether it’s at the beach or when I’m home visiting my family, we We’re outside all day. When I was younger we had a dog, so I spent time outside with him.

“Now I like going to the beach and visiting the Everglades when I’m home. All the water sports I like. I normally choose the beach over the Everglades because I don’t like visiting the alligators! ”

Along with tennis, Paul played basketball and baseball when he was younger. While he was talented in all three, tennis was the path he chose.

“I played a little bit of basketball, but I played more baseball. I really liked both sports and I still do,” Paul said. “I follow the NBA closely, but it’s hard to follow in Europe. I usually watch highlights in the morning when I’m away from the US, but I try not to miss any games.

“Playing wisely, tennis has always been my best sport. It was good because my sister played with me, so it was great because we grew up playing together.

At 13, Paul left his sister and the comforts of his home and entered the ITF junior circuit, where he trained and lived alongside fellow countrymen Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz in Florida.

For good friend Opelka, Paul’s success comes as no surprise.

“Tommy is a great athlete. Physically he is very good. He got stronger and took his natural athleticism to another level,” Opelka said. “His natural talent in tennis is out of this world. It just took him a little while to gain the discipline, but his success now is great to see.

With Opelka’s words ringing in his ears and his family in support at 3,500 miles, Paul will be looking to break new ground when he takes on Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the fourth round at Wimbledon on Sunday.

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