Recently interviewed by ITF following her first pro title, Robin Montgomery speaks on how she is handling the impact of COVID-19 in her early career. Read the full article below.
First, I hope that you, your family and friends are all safe and well at this time. I presume you are back home in the US – could you describe the current situation where you are?
“Currently where I live we are on lockdown. The government suggests that we don’t go out to public places unless it is a necessity or play a recreational sport that can be done with a safe distance from others.”
How much are you missing playing competitive tennis?
“I definitely miss playing competitive tennis. Not only do all players around the world to compete, but we also make new friends during these experience.”
How are you spending your time and keeping fit? What is a typical day like at the present time?
“I’m spending my time mostly focusing on my fitness and school. A typical day for me is a jog in the morning, then a workout that my fitness coach sends me, and once I am done with that I shower and start doing school.”
What about the psychological side of not playing? You are used to competing regularly and having that drive to continuously improve – how are you coping with not competing?
“It’s definitely tough on the mental side, to be honest. It’s hard not competing for a long period of time, but I’ve adjusted, and I have been just focusing on the present and work on things I can control.”
Of course, there are other important considerations that go beyond tennis, but how frustrating was it for the tour to be suspended with you progressing as you were – a career-high junior ranking of No. 5 as well as victory at W25 Las Vegas last month?
“It is pretty frustrating, but I try not to focus on the negative effects of the suspension. I believe I put myself in a decent spot before all the suspensions happened, but now I can take this time to focus on things I need to improve on and off the court.”
How much confidence have you gained from the last few months, which has also seen you win the Orange Bowl and reach the quarter-finals of a Junior Grand Slam at the Australian Open?
“I am proud of how far I come, but the work doesn’t stop now. My confidence is around the same as before, my past results are just stepping stones toward my bigger goals.”
It was at the Australian Open where you revealed your love of World War Two books. Could I ask where your interest in World War Two and World War Two literature comes from?
“Yes, I do love reading about the World Wars. I don’t exactly know where my interest in reading about the World Wars came from. I guess I really enjoy reading history and those events just stuck out the most to me.”
Do you have a favorite book on this subject or even a part of the war which is of particular interest?
“Currently, my favorite book is Lovely War by Julie Berry.”
Once we get back on court following the coronavirus outbreak, what are your aims and ambitions for the next few years?
“My aims and ambitions over the next few years are just focusing on building myself as a player and get more experience on the pro tour if possible.”
You were a member of the USA team which won the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas title in 2019. How much has representing and winning on behalf of your country fueled ambitions to represent USA in the years to come?
“Representing and winning on behalf of my country means a lot to me. It’s an honor to represent the United States. After experiencing the junior side of representing my country one of my ambitions is to represent my country possibly at Fed Cup.”
Coco Gauff was recently included in the USA Fed Cup team and made her rookie speech. How much has the rise of someone like Coco inspired talented young American tennis players to think the same could happen to them?
“I actually was able to witness Coco’s rookie speech. Coco has inspired so many young American players it’s just unbelievable to watch, I think having her as a role model for younger players just shows them that dreams can come true.”
How well do you know Coco – has she offered any advice?
“Coco and I are good friends, we’ve known each other since we were 10 years old. Lately, we just talked about how it sucks that the tournaments have been cancelled because we were both excited to compete this year.”
I know also that, coming from the JTCC (Junior Tennis Champions Center in Maryland), you have sought advice from the likes of Frances Tiafoe and Denis Kudla. What has their advice to you been?
“Yes, I am really close with Frances and I’ve talked with Denis a few times. They both have said that this journey is a long journey, but the most important thing is to make sure you enjoy yourself. Tennis is all about having fun and doing what you love.”