It has always been my dream to play professional tennis.
I’ve never been good enough in juniors to even have a realistic shot at it. That’s why going to college was my only and last chance to keep my dreams alive.
I had no junior ranking or any true results, so Tulane University and a small, D2 school were the only programs that offered me a scholarship.
I decided to play for Tulane, but it couldn’t have started any worse. After my first semester, I went back home to Germany. Right away, I started feeling sick to the point where I couldn’t eat or drink anymore.
In order to figure out what happened, I was hospitalized for almost three weeks. It turned out I had mono. I spent Christmas and New Years in the hospital and doctors told me I wasn’t allowed to play tennis for at least 2-3 months depending on my recovery.
With my scholarship on the line, and also my only hope to ever pursue a professional tennis career after college, I was unsure what would happen.
I already missed the pre-season training trip and the head coach was concerned if I’d be able to play at all during the spring season. What if he replaces me with someone else and takes away my scholarship? What if it takes longer than expected to be able to play again? All these thoughts went through my head.
My college degree and dreams were about to be taken away from me and at the time, all I could do was wait.
— Dominik Koepfer (Tulane University 2016)
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