Everything changed my third year at the University of Michigan when I started to think that I wasn’t going to pursue tennis after college.
I played my fourth year while applying for internships at consulting firms. Right out of school I was working as a teaching pro and renting out bikes at Mackinac Island in Michigan.
I was always told, especially after losing my job to layoffs, that I should play on tour.
My friend brought me along to this money tournament, which I then went through fairly easily against some good players. That’s when I decided to give it a shot but was only 75% committed.
Immediately after taking the LSAT, I realized how young I was and how I should give tennis a true shot. Starting off in India, including the first six months of my professional career, was the worst experience of my life. I didn’t get my first ATP point until the sixth tournament. It was a lot tougher than I thought and it didn’t get any easier.
Three years ago, when I moved up to 140 in the world, I had to get foot surgery. I came back, after almost half a year, and it wasn’t really the same. I was consistently losing. The combination of taking the losses and traveling alone was exhausting.
You’re trying to get back to the level you once played at and wondering why you are unable to. You are alone with your own thoughts most of the time. You try to explain it to someone who doesn’t play tennis and they don’t quite understand.
That was the year I thought I would quit.
During my initial switch to play for Taiwan, I didn’t have financial support. It was a gamble to play under a new flag. I competed in the University Games where, after winning the gold medal, I felt somewhat like the “Federer” of Taiwan. It ended up sparking some inner confidence and companies started to support me, which allowed for a small team to travel with me.
It is cool to look back on where I started. Tennis has given me a lot and as professionals, we focus too much on the results. We aren’t going to play tennis forever, and the relationships and places we’ve been are far more important. I am finally better at putting things in perspective.
— Jason Jung (Michigan 2011)
Wikipedia: Jung played college tennis at the University of Michigan, where he majored in political science. As a tennis player, he was the National and Midwest Regional winner of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship in 2010, made the All-Big Ten team as a junior and senior, and is 4th all-time in Michigan history in career doubles wins.
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