|17 Jun 2021|
|Life After Judd|
Anton Matusevich win week two title at the UK Pro League Picture: sportsbeat (45381002)
The 20 year old tennis star from Sevenoaks (who reached the quarter finals at Junior Wimbledon in 2019), has had many tournaments so far this year including:
Winner 15K Kouvola, Finland
Anton kindly takes time to talk to the OJ Community about his year so far:
Wow you’ve had a busy year! Was it quieter during lockdown or have you been playing the whole way through?
Yes I’ve played the whole way through but not tournaments of course, they were all cancelled from March to September but I kept playing tennis and training at home throughout. I also did a data science course at Dartmouth which kept me busy and was really interesting. Then Jamie Murray put on the Battle of the Brits which was a fun tournament with matches and prize money and I took part in those that he held. Andy and Jamie teamed up for this year for the first time since 2017 and that was an exciting match for Scotland against England.
I managed to play an international event in October and recently again in May and then the UK Pro leagues and it was good to win some events during that and finally some cash. Obviously it’s been challenging for all tennis players during COVID and our contracts have suffered so that helped a little and with getting confidence back etc.
How is it juggling tennis with Uni work? You are studying Economics and Statistics at UCL?
Yes I am, it’s basically maths and I enjoy both so much I don’t mind the workload. It was quite heavy though so when there are matches on I sometimes stay at the National Tennis Centre for the week and they kindly schedule matches around my lectures. There are some heavy weeks but when you are enjoying them both it’s easier.
You must be excited playing at this level – you said somewhere it’s the best tennis of your life so far?
Yes that would be fair – and I’m really enjoying it too.
Do you think lockdown and training so hard had anything to do with that?
Yes absolutely! That’s one of the biggest things – my fitness has never been so strong, I have trained hard every day and worked out consistently, press ups and lots of lower body, upper body and core – that’s an important one as during lockdown you are sitting a lot so you need to train your abdominals so that when you stretch to do a serve, you don’t damage anything. That happened during my GCSEs – I was sitting down a lot studying, and then when I played, of course you really extend your abs to serve and I ripped my abdominals – so I learned a lesson there!
My dad and I bought loads of gym equipment and became gym junkies - there was nothing to do but train so we did! It’s made such a difference to my game. Strength and conditioning is just as important as training on court now, so many injuries happen because tennis players just want to get in as many tournaments as possible and you get in the head zone of winning, but it’s just as important to look after your body and build muscle to support the stress of those matches.
I’ve been playing for a month non-stop now and have powered through and hopefully fingers crossed will be fine at Wimbeldon too.
Anton Matusevich reigned supreme once again at the UK Pro League Picture credit: Ian Hall (46076699)
You must be excited for Wimbledon and getting the Wild Card?
Yes very excited! It’s unbelievable really as I’m technically a student rather than a full time tennis player, I will write and thank them for selecting me. Leon Smith, (Tennis Coach and captain of the Great Britain Davis Cup team) must have put a good word in for me, so that’s nice of him.
It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’ll try to show my best tennis on Monday! It’s on grass and a lot of players struggle with grass so I might be able to get in a few sneaky wins.
Who are you most looking forward to playing against?
Ooh that’s a hard one – I don’t really mind – I prefer not to play against someone who does serve-and-volley, I prefer rallying from the back. I would prefer not to play someone like Kevin Anderson who does 20 aces per match! He’s a machine. I will improvise and just give it my absolute best.
What’s next on the cards for you this year?
I have gone in for every tournament going I think! I can’t wait to just get out there and keep playing – I think I have some other events maybe in Europe when we are allowed to travel, I have two important tournaments coming up so a lot will be decided by the outcome of them.
Anything you want to mention about Judd?
I have very fond memories of Judd – they were the best 7 years of my life. All the kids were very smart and capable and I loved the social interaction that was always good fun. Judd were the ones who suggested I do my university course: We spent 10 minutes picking out a course, I knew I didn’t want to do straight economics, they suggested Economics and Statistics which includes Data Science and Machine Learning – and that’s the bit I enjoy the most! It was meant to be!
Did you play tennis at school?
No, not really - maybe just a couple of times in Year 7, but I kept playing tennis throughout at Roehampton Tennis club. I remember all the teachers at Judd, they were all very good which is why I got such good grades, and that speaks volumes about the teaching. I really hope to come back to Judd for a visit once COVID is over and I’ll come and say hello to everyone.
KOUVOLA, FINLAND – Anton Matusevich claimed the singles title in the ITF event, the Brit was third seed. Over in Heraklion, Ryan Peniston took back to back titles. (Getty)
Well we wish you all the best Anton, we will be cheering you on at Wimbledon and in your career as always, thank you for talking to the OJ Community and please keep us updated!
Further reading in the press about his recent wins:
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