TFP 066: Jamie Loeb – Staying Mentally Tough on the WTA Tour
On Episode 66 of The Tennis Files Podcast, I spoke with WTA world #164 Jamie Loeb about her rise from the juniors to playing the biggest tournaments in the world. Jamie developed into a top junior, had a championship run at the University of North Carolina, and qualified for the US Open while still in college before turning pro full-time. Jamie is grinding it out on the tour and living the dream of traveling the world as a professional tennis player.
I first met Jamie at the Player's Party at the Citi Open last month, along with her former teammate and friend Tessa. I remembered that my former assistant coach and teammate Ale Pedergnana is close friends with Jamie, and after a friendly chat and compliments on her dance moves, Jamie was nice enough to come onto the podcast. We chat about her keys to success on the pro tour, how she overcame the toughest moment in her career, how tough it is to survive financially as a pro, what racquets and strings she uses, tips for pros on how to improve your Instagram game, some great insights into how you can improve your tennis game, and much more.
I've also added something new for the first time: a transcript of the interview. See below to read the transcript or click here to download the transcript! It was a pleasure speaking with Denis on the podcast, and I wish him all the best in his career. Let us know what you think about this episode in the comments below!
Click Here to See the Transcript!
The Tennis Files Podcast - Episode 066: Jamie Loeb
Mehrban: You're listening to Episode 66 of The Tennis Files Podcast with special guest Jamie Loeb.
Intro: Welcome to the Tennis Files Podcast! Bringing you advice from the top minds in tennis to help you improve your game. And now here's your host, Mehrban Iranshad!
Mehrban: Hey everyone! Welcome to another episode of the Tennis Files Podcast.
I really appreciate you tuning in to this episode. And on this one we have a great interview with Jamie Loeb who I met at the Players party at the Citi Open in Washington, DC last month, and I was really fantastic to meet her. She was very friendly and really a fantastic player coming up. A great and highly ranked Junior player and then she went on to play at UNC and won a national championship there and now has a great pro career.
And so we get into her career from the very beginning as a junior. And just types of things that she's had to go through throughout her career in order to reach the top of the sport and just really a fun and engaging discussion one that I think you'll really enjoy and get a lot out of as we discussed a lot of really translatable tips.
No matter what level you're at in your tennis game. So I hope you enjoy this one. And without further ado here is my interview with Jamie Loeb.
Mehrban: Hey everyone, welcome to episode 66 of the tennis files podcast. It's an honor to have WTA Pro Jamie Loeb on the show today. I actually met Jamie and her friend Tessa at the Citi Open players party last month, which really was a lot of fun and I just have to say, Jamie, I consider your dance moves to be among the top 10 of the WTA and ATP Tour combined. So I just want to let you know that.
Jamie: I really take pride in my dance moves and, you know some people don't like them as much. I really do I get a lot of mixed reviews, but it hey I kind of own it and I do me and that's yeah that's just me and everyone that knows me knows I love to dance.
Mehrban: Yeah, it's definitely a good way to relax and you know, just do you so that's great. I really enjoyed that party, and just a little background on Jamie's career so far: She's currently ranked 164 in the world on the WTA tour in singles and 127 in doubles. Jamie is a proud UNC Tar Heel and played at UNC her freshman and sophomore years before turning pro.
And she was actually part of the 2015 National Championship team, which is amazing. She's also won seven ITF singles titles and six ITF doubles titles if I have my research correct. Jamie was born in Bronxville, New York and was raised in Ossining New York.
Jamie: Well, I know everyone always says Bronxville. I was technically born in the Bronxville hospital, but I've lived and grew up in Ossining my whole life.
So that's like a tricky question when people ask me where I'm from because I'm like, I'm from Ossining and lived here all my life. I was just technically born in the Bronxville Hospital.
Mehrban: I got you, yeah that's funny. I was born in DC but I never really lived there. So sometimes people mix that up, but cool great to know. And Jamie, in addition to her dance moves. I really enjoy following Jamie's Instagram. You have a lot of great stories on there. And so I really encourage everybody to check out Jamie's IG. It's really entertaining. And I also need to also announce something right away. I do not like fake news and I just want to tell everyone that everybody, including me, thought that your mom was actually your first coach, but you told me before the interview that this is a farce and I just want to ask you what's up with this?
Jamie: Yeah, so I guess there's some commentators during my matches maybe at the US Open and in DC that somehow got this information that my mom taught me how to play tennis and was a tennis instructor at Club Fit in Briarcliff, which is not true whatsoever.
I love my mom. She's great. But she did not teach me how to play tennis, fun fact. She's maybe watched, I think she's only watched one singles match in my entire life. Which was when I played Wozniacki in the 2015 US Open main draw. Other than that, she gets too nervous and paces in the parking lot.
She's watched some doubles matches, but throughout my junior college and professional career, I think she's watched one singles match. She's watch some practices, but I prefer her not to, she shows a lot in her face. I love her but it's better that way so yeah. I’m the youngest of four, my brother older brothers Jason, Justin, my sister Jenna, all played tennis and I'm the youngest by a lot.
So by the time I came around they kind of, you know got me into it and I was sitting on the ping pong table when I was about like 2 years old. My brother Jason would feed me balls and I would just sit there and my other brother Justin would hold me so that's how I got into tennis.
Mehrban: That's awesome. Who would you say was the most influential out of your entire family? Is there any one member that you looked up to more than the others as far as their tennis game and learning from them?
Jamie: So my oldest brother Jason he went to Springfield College and played for them. My other brother Justin he played, he actually didn't play for Quinnipiac.
He played when he was younger, but he just went to Quinnipiac. He didn't play tennis there but my sister Jenna got a full ride to Wake Forest and she played there. So I mean I'd say Jenna was very accomplished as a junior. She won the the state championship three times one time on a broken ankle, so that was pretty impressive. You know, she helped me a lot during my college process, where to go to school and just helping me out which you know is really nice and not a lot of people have those resources. Jenna was very well accomplished.
She was top five in the nation. So we had similar paths. I just decided, I wanted to do this as a living and took a little more seriously and really, you know, wanted to turn pro. I think since I was maybe a junior I I would say like when I was 10 years old. Telling myself. Oh my God. I want to be professional tennis player, but I think maybe by the time I was like 13 14, I started gaining the confidence and belief that you know, I could do this one day and here I am now.
Mehrban: Yeah, and you're doing incredibly well Jamie. Was there any one point in time, where you thought to yourself, like yeah, I'm definitely going to be Pro and was there like a certain, specific reason or was it just kind of a gradual thing where you just realize: Okay, I guess I'm going to do this.
Jamie: I think it was a gradual thing. You know, I wasn't completely sure if I wanted to go to school right away. There's a lot of mixed feelings and just what other people were saying and thinking that part of me was thinking about turning pro. But I felt you know, I mean, I can't really turn down a full scholarship.
I know I went for two years but I can always go back and finish and just having that college experience some maturity physically as well and just being on my own a little bit. I think that helped me a lot. So I'd say maybe when I was 15 16, I started really thinking like, I can really do this. I think I was a late bloomer, you know to play like ITF’s I started my junior year of high school when now girls are starting when they're like 13 years old.
So maybe if I would have played ITF’s when I was a younger I would have had the inclination to go pro right away, but I'm kind of happy that with the path that I've chosen.
Mehrban: Yeah, for sure and I just have to ask this kind of I guess side question about your sister Jenna. How did she win a state championship on a broken ankle??
Did she just tape it up and just play or like how does that work out?
Jamie: She was in an air cast.
Mehrban: Oh, wow.
Jamie: Yeah, I I wasn't there because I was pretty young but I remember hearing the stories about it. Yeah, she won in an air cast which is pretty remarkable.
Mehrban: Wow. Yeah, that is pretty sick.
Who were your tennis role models when you were young?
Jamie: I always looked up to Kim Clijsters. I guess we share one thing in common that we're both with Fila, but I just really enjoyed watching her play her game style and craftiness. She's always so composed and on and off the court, you know, I think she was just probably one of the most well-liked players and yeah, I just you know, I just really enjoyed watching her play
Mehrban: Awesome. Yeah, she seems like one of the nicest players on tour for sure or at least that was on tour. Fun one for you: What are three things that most of the world doesn't know about Jamie Loeb?
Jamie: So I was gonna say my dance moves, but you gave that away.
Mehrban: Sorry! Haha.
Jamie: But I guess for those that don't know me. There you go. I love to dance sometimes I think I'm a good dancer. But that's up to your discretion. Hmm, what people don't know about me? The reason behind me wearing sunglasses. My eyes are really sensitive to the sun and ever since I started playing when I was 8 years old I was wearing sunglasses.
I don't know if it's because of my mom. Maybe she was the one that got me into it and I think she taught herself tennis. So maybe she was like, okay since I wear sunglasses you wear sunglasses, not really sure about that. But yeah, my eyes are sensitive to the Sun. That's why I wear sunglasses.
I like to shop. I like to online shop. I do love going to Sephora. Yeah....yeah, it's bad. I walk by it and I always turn around and always get at least one thing because I have no self-control.
Mehrban: Yeah, it happens. You know you work hard and just want to de-stress. I mean they have so many colorful things in there.
I mean, how can you not?
Jamie: Exactly! Another thing you don't know about me. Hmm. That's a tough one. I mean people probably know this but I really enjoy food and really like to eat healthy, but I don't know there's nothing like crazy wild. There's nothing that I'm hiding I feel like.
Mehrban: Very transparent player! Well, I can definitely appreciate that. I asked you for three and you gave me five which is amazing and you were still hunting for more!
Jamie: I feel like people know these things about me. I'm just trying to think of something cool, but I don't know. I don't think I'm that cool.
Mehrban: A lot of people do but if any time you think of anything randomly while I'm asking you a question just blurt it out. Good stuff Jamie, appreciate that. So I know we touched on this a little bit, but I just wanted to go back to your Junior career. So at what age did you start seriously training for tournaments as opposed to just kind of hitting around?
Jamie: I think I was always in the mindset from a young age. You know, I've always been competitive and I started playing tournaments when I was 8 years old, but I think maybe like from 12, 13. That's when I started kind of taking things more seriously, you know, I think from a fitness standpoint. I didn't start to train hard physically until probably 14 and now you see all these girls like say from like 11 12 years old like they're doing things that I never even did.
So I think that it's like the biggest difference right now and I kind of wish from a physical standpoint I did more and maybe took that a little bit more seriously, but from a tennis standpoint, I think I was always pretty focused and I played a lot of junior tournaments in my age group even the age group up.
But yeah, that was one thing my mom always had me signed up for every sectional and level one there was, every National Open.
Mehrban: I know it might be hard to remember but approximately how many tournaments would you say you like played in a year?
Jamie: Maybe my last year of Juniors, I won eight sectionals in a row. I know it's different, now with the way they have the USTA junior tournaments, but I remember I won eight in a row. So that's 8 right there, plus Nationals, and maybe that year I played some ITF’s. I don't know. I mean I'd say at least probably like 20, at least 20 tourneys.
Mehrban: Oh, that's substantial. I was just curious because sometimes you hear about discussions on how many tournaments is too much and there's a fear of burnout with Juniors and whatnot. When you were playing that many tournaments did you ever feel burned out or anything or were you just pretty much loving it and crushing everyone?
Jamie: I know there's times where I maybe I wanted to play more ITF’s but also from a financial standpoint, that’s tough. Traveling I think at the time I was still in regular school and I think they gave me a hard time about traveling. So I had to kind of stay in the states. When I played ITF’s I only stayed in the states except for the junior slams.
But I don't think I was burnt out. Maybe it got repetitive after a while playing the same junior tournaments, especially sectionals. But you know with match-play I got to work on things, but now it's just so different the scheduling and a lot of the girls and the boys they're not playing as many USTA tournaments and are going straight to ITF’s and there's a limit of how many you can play.
I'm not sure how many but there's definitely some type of limit which I think is good because you don't want to burn your kids out from a young age, especially. The bigger tournaments especially like ITF’s, there's more experienced kids. It's just a different environment and it's easy to burnout at that age so you just kind of want to be careful.
Mehrban: Yeah for sure great points, Jamie, and so I hope my research is correct because after I found out that your mom isn't coaching you that put everything into question as far as like what I looked at! But I did read that you decided to finish up High School online. Did your parents have any reservations about the decision? Talk through how you came up with that decision.
Jamie: That is correct. I went to High School up until my sophomore year and then yeah, it was a big discussion.
My parents have always been pro education and finishing school and just getting a good education and I think it was a risk because then, you know playing more tournaments and financially having to travel a little bit more and train more and I think we were all a little bit nervous, like is this the right decision? And I mean I've sacrificed so much for tennis my entire life obviously missing birthday parties and events.
And this was another big sacrifice, not seeing my friends on a daily basis and I knew it would be tough to see them because I'll be traveling a lot and missing out on things. I never went to prom so I didn't have that experience. But you know, it's tennis so I'm used to it.
I'm used to the sacrifices and hopefully they'll pay off eventually. But I did Laurel Springs for two years and it worked out and I'm actually still close with some of my friends from Ossinning. Two of them especially so I'm glad we've kept in touch after all these years.
Mehrban: Awesome. Yeah, it makes total sense. We had Denis Kudla on the previous episode (65) of the podcast and him and a lot of other great players from JTCC here in Maryland also did abbreviated schooling and it's just what you have to do when you're prioritizing tennis to the fullest so it makes a lot of sense.
As far as high school, I know that you played High School tennis for a bit and I was curious on your take about whether you think High School tennis is a good training ground for serious Junior players. And if there's anything you'd like to see improved in the High School tennis system.
Jamie: Yeah, so I played High School tennis from 7th to 10th grade. I won the state championship my sophomore year and I think I lost in the finals my freshman year, I believe so. It was tough because the level was nowhere near the level I was playing even just in the Eastern section to be honest.
It was quite boring for me, the matches within your conference and league. States was better because there's more, it consists of the girls I was playing against in sectionals. So at least there's better matches. But yeah, it did take some time out of my training, my coach Jay who actually I still work with somewhat now, he wasn't thrilled when I would miss some practice for High School tennis matches but you know, I think also it it depends where you are.
I played for Ossining and we did not have a good team, some schools in our conference were okay, but like I said, it wasn't till States and I think was it called Regionals, something like that, where it got a little bit better.
So, I don't know how it is for other states, how the competition is and who plays in it, but if the level isn't good I probably wouldn't recommend it just because it'll take time out of your day and take time out of your training and I'm not saying it set me back in any way but it really wasn't necessary for me to play some of those matches.
But at least I won a state championship for my school, which is pretty cool.
Mehrban: Yeah, makes a lot of sense. Like you said, you have to assess your own game and then how much competition can you face because you certainly don't want to be wasting a lot of time just double-bageling people everywhere like you probably did. It's good to shift to some higher intensity training.
What your experience like training at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy?
Jamie: I was there for about six years. I think in the beginning there were a lot of good players there. Me and Noah Reuben were there, I’m thinking he might have been there like a year before me.
There's a lot of good guys and girls to train with and coaches. I'm still working with my coach Felix Alvarado. He's actually an in Pearl World in Florida. And then when I'm home in New York Jay Devashetty who worked with me as a junior and when I was eight years old, I work with him at home.
I enjoyed my time there but I had to move on from that, but it's a great facility. They have a lot of resources there. So yeah, I was fortunate to train there.
Mehrban: Awesome. And I was just curious, if you could give a glimpse to the audience what a day in the life at academies is like.
What was a typical day like at JMTA?
Jamie: So, it's tough being in New York because of court time. That's kind of the beauty of Florida where you don't really have that problem maybe rain here and there but there's unlimited court time.
So my schedule kind of changed depending on the day and what was available. I would train anywhere from like two to four hours a day tennis wise like I said depending on the day and then fitness like an hour and a half two hours. But I mean, I would split everything up into two sessions tennis wise and I practice when I'm home like four hours a day and then do fitness between an hour and a half and two hours.
Mehrban: Nice, that’s pretty solid. I also read that obviously you've met John McEnroe and you practiced with him. Was there anything in particular that surprised you about John when you met him that you may not have thought he would have been like before you met him?
Jamie: So the very first time I hit with him, I was probably like 15. We stepped on the court and I was ready to do mini tennis and he looked at me and he was like unless we're playing a game let's move back. I was like, all right, this is off to a great start! So I moved back pretty quickly and I'm like, okay!
So yeah, there is that but after a while, I got used to him and his personality, the way he is. Commentating the way he was, on court is exactly what you would expect from him. You know, he's pretty intense, he loves the sport, he's very passionate about it.
He does get frustrated when he misses, even against me and against kids younger than me. Even when we were just hitting not even when playing points. When we were playing Points he got pretty heated. So yeah, it's very intense and we've had some pretty intense battles because we're both super competitive and don't like to lose and he’ll trash talk and try to get in your ear.
I don't take that so I'll try to talk back. So sometimes it got a little too heated.
Mehrban: Oh, wow. So what's an example of one thing that he has said to you as far as the trash talk?
Jamie: He's tried to intimidate me with calls. Questioning me. I've questioned him. There were some questionable calls even on clay.
I remember he circled a mark and I was like hmm? He tries to intimidate me with the calls. I remember there was one time he was fussing over the net saying it was too low and then he had Felix my coach measure it. And I was like, oh boy, but it's John, once you start playing with him you kind of know what to expect and you know, he means well, he's just super competitive and has a lot of passion for this sport.
But yeah, he's giving me some good advice about transitioning and consistency.
Mehrban: Awesome. Yeah, definitely a passionate guy and great for the game for sure. And another side question: Mini tennis is pretty standard for a warm-up, right? Like dude.... don't most pros do that?
Jamie: Yeah, but when I see guys warm up with each other, most of them don't do mini tennis. Maybe not most, but there's like at least half that don't do mini tennis. So maybe that's a guy thing.
Mehrban: Interesting. Yeah, I guess maybe they've warmed up before hand, but I don't know.
I definitely always do that. Cool. And you mentioned a little bit earlier in the episode about your amazing experience at the US Open 2015 where you played Wozniacki, so I want to get into you discussing your experience when you played there after winning the American Collegiate Invitational and how that was.
Jamie: Yeah, it was definitely a great experience, I actually got the wild card from winning NCAA’s then after that I turned pro. And my Pro debut was playing on Arthur Ashe first match on against Wozniacki. So that's one way to start your pro career. Yeah, it was a great experience.
It was tough leading up to it because I was a little bit injured so I couldn't prepare the way I wanted to. I mean I felt completely fine during my match, but the preparation was tough and a little overwhelming because I don't have an agent now and I didn't have an agent then, so all the calls and emails were going through me.
And a lot of people were trying to talk to me and introduced interviews and all this and it's hard for me to say no to people so I was like, okay, okay, okay, and it got a little overwhelming and I kind of learned from that, to shut your phone off and you don't have to respond to everyone and just kind of take some time for yourself.
But you know overall the match was a great experience. I had my whole entire family there. My mom. My mom did watch like that. That was probably the only singles match I remember her watching. She watched me get bageled the second set, but maybe it’ll be a first and last for her. But yeah, it was an incredible experience and I definitely learned a lot from that.
Mehrban: For sure. You mentioned one huge lesson with the whole media thing but what was another big lesson or take away that you had from that experience?
Jamie: I learned that I'm right there. The level isn't significantly better than mine. I was expecting more of a gap and I think that if I went into that mindset before the match, you know, that I can do this, to don't make it seem bigger than what it it is even though it was a big match. But I learned that I'm right there with my game and that gave me confidence to know that and we had a lot of close games.
I had some opportunities but it definitely gave me a lot of confidence knowing that I'm right there.
Mehrban: For sure. I want to go back to your decision to attend UNC. At that point you were a fantastic Junior player and I was just wondering how you decided to attend college instead of going pro full-time instead?
Jamie: So like I said earlier, I was kind of pulled in different directions or at least I thought I was but I think people expected me to turn pro right away just because of my success from Juniors and I wasn't too sure my parents wanted me to go to school and get an education and to have a full ride. College is a lot of money. So for them not to pay that I knew that would be huge and as far as going to UNC I had no idea where I wanted to go. I visited Northwestern, my doubles partner and juniors Maddie Lip. She's from Chicago and she committed to Northwestern.
She was like, come visit you can stay in my house. I visited and I kind of knew it wasn't going to be the school for me. But at least it gave me some experience on schools I could compare it to. And then I remember Jenna. So Jenna went to Wake Forest and my assistant coach at the time I was being recruited and my freshman year of college, Sarah Annenson, she hosted Jenna on her recruiting trip when Jenna visited UNC, so Jenna knew Brian and Sarah just from college and I think Brian recruited Jenna.
Jenna Facebook messaged Sarah and asked if they had any interest in me, and they actually thought I was going to Michigan because I think the Michigan coach was watching all my matches. So they were under the impression that I was going to Michigan and I was like no I'm not, actually don't know where I'm going. And so then I got in contact with Brian and Sarah. I took a visit, Jenna came with me to my visit, and you know Haley Carter who I'm really close with, she committed. I was good friends with her in juniors.
And she was convincing me and I visited and I really got along with the girls on the team and the school is beautiful and it's not too far away from home. So it was a perfect fit overall. And so I committed. I think I verbally committed sometime like late June of my senior year.
Mehrban: That's awesome. And so the only schools that you even thought about were Northwestern and UNC or were there some others that you visited or thought about?
Jamie: Those were the only two I visited. I was in touch with Georgia, UVA, Florida. I didn't want to go west coast. So I ruled out Stanford, UCLA, USC, Cal, ruled them out. Yeah. I don't know it just you know, everything kind of felt right with you and c and.
I just went with my gut, and I'm really happy I went there.
Mehrban: Yeah, for sure. I mean you won a national championship, can’t really get better than that. Did you rule out the West Coast Schools just because you wanted to stay close to home?
Mehrban: Okay. Awesome. That's great.
I'm definitely close to my family too. So I definitely respect that for sure. What was your first memory of your college tennis career?
Jamie: My first memory?
Mehrban: Yeah, like the first thing you can remember about your college tennis career?
Jamie: My very first memory I guess tennis-wise is being able to go from pre- qualifying to winning all Americans. I was pretty impressed with myself on that. I think I remember saying to Sarah when I was in quallies like my first round right after I pre-qualified for qualifying. I'm in my first round qualifying match, and I'm like: I'm so tired like I don't know how I'm going to do this like, I don't know I just....I was so tired after just like three matches and I had some doubles and she's like it's okay just one at a time. Just focus on this and then I somehow got my second wind and qualified and then I don't know I was like a different person in the main draw, I felt super fresh.
And yeah, I was super fresh for that and that was pretty impressive on my part and something I'll never forget knowing I can win 11 matches in a row in a week. So yeah, that's probably one of my first tennis college memories.
Mehrban: Wow, that's incredible. That's a lot of tennis, great stuff there. While at UNC, what element or elements of your game did you improve the most?
Jamie: I think physically I got a bit stronger there, changed my serve when I was in school, but I think from a mental standpoint. I remember in college I was so zoned in when I was playing matches and that's kind of like what I'm getting back to now is finding that.
A tunnel vision that I had when I was playing matches that nothing can faze me and nothing can affect me. I have all the support behind me and I'm going to use it but I'm going to like dig deep within myself and that's something I think I learned about myself in school for sure.
And you know, like I said, I look back on that time from time to time. I actually remember watching one of my college matches randomly like last month just to see like what I was doing. Obviously the level is different, but just to see how I handled myself and what I was doing on the court, so I'm glad I can go back to some of those moments.
Those are some of the best moments of my career and my life.
Mehrban: Awesome. With the tunnel vision that you had and that incredible focus, do you have any tips on how to cultivate that or develop that? Because like you mentioned, one of the things that you improved the most was being able to have a laser-like focus on the courts.
I was wondering if there was anything you did in college, like any exercises that you guys did as a squad to cultivate that or is there anything that maybe you did?
Jamie: Our coaches were really big on us being like cheerleaders for each other and supporting one another and we would have team meetings. We did read this book in school. I forgot the name of it. But you know each week one of us would have to present a chapter with another teammate and basically talk about what it means to you. So I think finding something that you can really connect with helps whether it's reading or meditation or visualization.
I'm a very visual person. So I benefit from any sort of visualization. And I think the mental side of it, of tennis is probably the biggest part especially right now and on the pro tour, being mentally tough. I think that's really important and that's something that I've been paying more attention to and taking more time on improving.
If you want to be successful, it has to come down to you and what you really want to achieve and accomplish and if you're willing to put in the mental work. It's not easy at all. But you have to do that day in and day out and that's something I'm learning and you have to be really consistent and diligent about it.
I think if you do that, then you'll see progress.
Mehrban: Love that advice Jamie. You mentioned that you're working hard on the mental aspect of the game. Could you give us a little bit of insight into what kinds of things you're working on regarding the mental game?
Jamie: I'm a perfectionist, so I think just that aspect of letting go more. It's interesting that I get more mad in practice than in matches, so you know, making my practice a little more worthwhile and not wasting time on my emotions. So I think that aspect and just being more process-oriented instead of result oriented which is tough.
And I think it's tough for me and I think it's tough for a lot of players as well. But just really trusting the process and trusting the work that you're putting in.
Mehrban: Great stuff. And you did mention a couple of things like meditation and I'm a huge fan of meditation. I was just curious if if you actually also practice meditation.
Jamie: I don't practice meditation. Maybe I should but I do more visualization, and yeah, I haven't really done meditation. I mean the closest thing I guess is yoga, but I haven't done any serious meditation work.
Mehrban: Yeah, that's cool. I mean visualization, I feel like it's somewhat related anyway, but it's hugely helpful.
Great to know that you do that and hopefully some people listening could try that out as well. So as far as your time at UNC, I also was wondering, and you gave us a lot of great things about what you learn there, but can you remember maybe a piece of advice that your coach gave you while at UNC, or it could even be a player, that stuck with you that you try to apply in your game?
Jamie: Brian is a great coach and I still talk to him to this day, we talk from time to time. Him and Jay and Felix. They have all said how much they believe in me and the confidence they have in me, which has helped. Brian is big on us pushing each other like all our teammates pushing each other and believing, and I remember.
Besides me winning NCAAs, even though I think this match is probably my most memorable match in college, is when we beat Stanford in the Final Four for the first time ever at NCAAs my freshman year and the match came down to me. And I knew this in the middle of my first set.
I lost the first set 7-6 to Kristie Ahn and then I won 6-0 6-0 which was not expected. And I love how people after the match were like, yeah, I knew you were going to win 6-0 6-0 and I was like, yeah okay, that's not a call that you make so I remember after I lost that first set I said to my assistant coach there: I’m going to win this, I am not losing this I am going to win this match and I got really fired up.
I think just having that belief in myself and just having my teammates there as well that gave me confidence and I'll never take that for granted and we were such a close team and my teammates are some of my best friends now, as you saw Tessa in Washington.
So I think just having the overall support was probably you know, it was great for me. And I think it's great for tennis players in general because we don't have that consistent camaraderie on tour. It's you or it's you and your team, but when you're playing it's just you, so I'll never take that for granted.
It's awesome to have that support system, to feel a little bit comfortable and to have people really behind you.
Mehrban: Yeah, that's fantastic. Like no matter where you are, you know that you have a great team behind you and your family and fans all rooting for you and you want to just perform the best you can so that everyone's happy within your support system.
I was also curious, to close out your experience at UNC, I was wondering how many days a week approximately that you can remember that your team trained fitness versus on court practice? I'm always interested in how training is structured.
If you could go through that and also if it changed in the spring you could mention that too.
Jamie: So we worked out Monday through Friday. There's the 8 hour rule where you can only work out with the coaches during a few weeks when we’re not really in season.
And that's kind of when we are in the gym more because we could not be on court that much. But yeah we worked out every day during the week. Weekends, it was kind of whatever you wanted to do. The fall was more intense and in the spring more kind of maintaining what you built in the fall because we had matches throughout the weeks.
So the fall was a little bit more I think when I left. They started doing a little bit different stuff and maybe more intense stuff. So I feel like I could have gained a little bit more physically than what I got out of it. I definitely got stronger, but nowhere near to what I am now. So yeah.
Mehrban: I appreciate that insight there. And then ultimately you left on a high note. How did you decide to leave UNC early to go on the tour?
Jamie: I played as an amateur that entire summer when I one NCAA’s in 2015 until I found out I got into the US Open and then once I found I got to the US Open, I turned Pro because (A) That was a lot of money and (B) My ultimate goal was to turn pro and I think if I would have stayed there more I don't think my game would improve or improve at the rate that I would want it to just because... it's not the coaches it's just I don't have the time to spend on court like I spend now.
You have school, you have social events, there's a lot going on so you can never put in the same amount of work and effort as you do when it's just tennis. So I wanted to give myself a chance and I felt that was the right time to do it and I did.
Mehrban: Yeah, and it's worked out really. Well, you've had such a great trajectory since you've joined the the tour. What are some big differences that you've seen between college tennis players and pro level players?
Jamie: Pro tennis is very selfish, very selfish. And sometimes in a good way sometimes in a bad way. I try not to like, you know, I'll never do anything to hurt anyone or you know do something shady, but you have to make some selfish sacrifices. Say in doubles you say you're going to play with someone and then you know you're not going to get in.
So then you have to find someone else. And I learned to take care of my body much better when I'm on tour than in college. It's physically more demanding now, the level is different. So you have to be more careful with your body and do all the little things and the right things.
My Dynamic warm-ups have gotten more intense. Taking things more seriously than I did in college: the levels are different so you can get away with things in college, but you can't get away with those things on tour, if you want to be successful.
Mehrban: Interesting that's really interesting.
You mentioned that your Dynamic warm-up is more intense: is that just the duration? When I think of dynamic warm-up I'm thinking I just want to make sure that I get warmed up enough to play but what did you change in your Dynamic warmup?
Jamie: I've added more mobility to make sure that I'm loose. Everyone has certain restrictions. I have my restrictions. So I make sure I target those areas and spend more time there. And just making sure I'm ready to go whether I'm practicing for 30 minutes, for an hour and a half or two hours, just making sure I'm ready to go and I'm not going to waste time on court. And to get in that mind frame when you're warming up and just be a little more focused and in tune of what you're doing.
Mehrban: Awesome, really like hearing how important even little things, well supposedly little things, like the warm are because I guess from your vantage point you're thinking I need to do this to perform my best. A lot of people, mostly amateurs, will blow off the warm-up, but if you think long-term about how much it's going to help, you or like stretching, how much that's going to help you not feel like crap then you're more likely to do that.
I appreciate that. So I know I just asked you about a typical day training in college, but I'm also curious about your typical day of training while on the tour.
Jamie: So like practice or when I’m...?
Mehrban: I should specify. So let's go with a week that you're not playing a tournament or when it's not coming up.
So I guess like more training mode.
Jamie: So once again, if there's court availability in New York, normally two sessions, two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, or two hours in the morning, an hour and a half in the afternoon. Fitness sometimes in between and after or sometimes right afterwards, it really depends on how I'm feeling as well.
Sometimes double sessions of tennis and fitness sometimes one session of each. It's kind of up to me and what the coaches think so it varies.
Mehrban: Got ya. I guess a lot of people are totally confused as far as how many days a week to lift like, you know, lift heavy, lift light, should we even lift, and how to partition their fitness.
So I was just curious: how much of the fitness training you do is weight training?
Jamie: Like three three days a week. At least when I'm at tournaments, I've done a much better job of maintaining my fitness, like if I have a day off, doing light stuff in the gym.
On a day off, like going for a little run or doing a little bit of weight work or whatever but in the past I was always so hesitant to do anything at a tournament because there's this conspiracy that you're going to get sore. And a lot of players shy away from doing fitness at tournaments, when I realized that I trained more than I'm actually playing matches and if I can sustain that training on day-to-day basis, I know there's more emotions and nerves involved in a match but I can still do something when I'm on the road. So yeah, I'd say it's strength training when I'm home like three days a week.
Mehrban: Awesome. That's very helpful. And so I know that obviously a lot of players have coaches, a lot don’t, but do you travel with a coach and if so how frequently does your coach travel with you to tournaments?
Jamie: Yeah. So my coach is Felix and he's in Florida in Pro World. He moved there exactly a year ago.
I would say he comes with me half the amount of time. Obviously it is costly financially, but he also works at the Academy so he can't take off a ton of time. But sometimes I like being on my own, it's good to be independent and kind of do things by yourself. I've had my best results when I've been by myself, which is strange enough.
I've won every Pro Tournament by myself. Actually the very first one Jay was there, but other than that, yeah, I won every other one by myself. So that's pretty interesting. I do like having a coach there, another set of eyes, someone to do extra stuff with after a match or after a practice if you want feeding or you know, any specific fixed up.
It's nice to have, and the tour is lonely, so just to have someone there, someone to have dinner with just like, you know talk to and interact with.
Mehrban: Yeah, for sure. And do you ever also travel with physios or stringers or anyone else as well?
Jamie: Haha, funny.... if I had the money for it, maybe but not where I'm at. I mean maybe for top 10 you can afford a stringer but I don’t think I've seen anyone with a personal stringer on tour. I had a trainer, my trainer I used last year and the year before he went to like two tournaments with me. But like I said its it's expensive and the USTA does a good job of providing either physios or strength and conditioning coaches or a regular coach to a lot of the tournaments in the states. So I make use of those resources and it's definitely helpful.
Mehrban: Awesome and it's funny because I remember after meeting you and following you on Instagram, I saw a couple of posts where you were saying that Tessa was the best trainer or something like that.
So I was like, wait, is that her trainer? But yeah, I guess that was not true.
Jamie: That's funny! Yeah, so I put her down in Newport Beach in February as my physio. So we just have this joke that she's my physio, and then in DC she got promoted to coach on court with me so she might come to a couple tournaments with me this fall.
She might be a coach again. Maybe she can redeem herself. But yeah, she did stretch me out a couple of times in Newport so she could be my physio.
Mehrban: There you go, that qualifies! And I guess the recent questions have been a good segue to this one, where obviously it's tough to stay afloat financially on the tour.
How hard is it in general and have you ever had any issues with it as well?
Jamie: Yeah. It's definitely tough. My parents can't support me financially as much as they wish they could but I've found some ways. It's still probably not enough and what I need right now, but I don't know how a lot of these players do it to be honest.
It's so expensive and like I've said before, having a coach, you know... the weeks I'm by myself, I'm like, okay, this is great, I only have one expense instead of two expenses. So yeah, it's definitely a struggle where I'm at. I wouldn't say I'm making money. Maybe I'm breaking even, maybe I'm making a little bit from the slams.
But besides the slams throughout the year, unless you're winning tournaments consistently, you're not making much. I’d say if you’re top 70 you are, but I'm like 160 right now. So yeah, it's definitely not easy.
Mehrban: Yeah, definitely appreciate you giving us insight about that.
I actually remembered interviewing Clay Thompson a while back and he was talking about how he writes scripts or something like that to make extra money and it's definitely very tough. But as far as the expenses are I know obviously coaching is a huge one.
But what's maybe one expense on the tour that you realized after looking at your statements that you were like, wow, this is a lot more than I thought or this really is a substantial expense?
Jamie: The plane tickets and hotels definitely add up and they add up pretty quick.
I guess it's not a surprise, but just seeing how much you spend on that. It's pretty crazy. And I get my racket strung pretty often when I'm at tournaments so that definitely adds up, it all adds up. It's like I said, it’s a grind and you have to hustle out there.
Mehrban: Yeah for sure. But I mean you love the game and you know you're rising and I'm sure that you're loving it more than anything else that you could possibly be doing right now . Is it pretty easy to get housing, like people to host you? Is that something that you try to do?
Jamie: In the states it is. In other countries it's not as common. I try to do it when I’m in the states but then there's some weeks where I just want my space and like staying at a hotel just so I can do my own thing and don't have to entertain and don't feel like I'm intruding, but I've done housing.
It helps and it definitely saves a lot of money and it's also a great way to make connections with people and stay in touch with them. So I've benefited from it.
Mehrban: Awesome. I was wondering what your relationship is like with your fellow American players, like who you are closest with and what kinds of things you do with them to hangout and relax.
Jamie: I think the American players, we kind of stick together and it's nice even when we're in foreign countries, and there's an American player you kind of gravitate towards them. And I think the USTA has kind of done a good job of having that camaraderie and bringing us all together and having Team USA holding some dinners and events, you know for all of us to kind of get together and just celebrate us I guess. But yeah, I'm good friends with Kristie Ahn, Jenny Brady, Asia Muhammad, Grace Min.
All the girls, those are the ones that just came off on the top of my head, and then my teammate Haley Carter, she's back on tour. So I'm really happy she's back. We're super close and I get to see her, and I think I'll get to see her in a couple weeks in California. So that'd be good.
But yeah, I think the guys and the girls, I think we're all pretty close and Louisa Chirico. Sorry Louisa, have to give her a shout out. My fellow New Yorker.
Mehrban: Awesome, that's great stuff. What's your favorite thing to do to relax after either a long training session or a stressful tournament?
Jamie: Definitely some Netflix, online shopping with money I probably don't have, but it makes me feel better. And then when I'm home, I like being with my dog Jada she's actually in my lap right now and she's been really good and just sitting here.
Mehrban: What breed?
Jamie: She's a Maltese. Three years old I think, and I also love spending time with my family and friends. I don't get to see them that often. I do live at home. So I really try to spend time with everyone .,
Mehrban: That's awesome. And what are you watching right now on Netflix?Jamie: I'm watching Narcos. I'm almost done season 3, episode 5, and I really like it.
Mehrban: Yeah, me too! I watched a couple seasons....a little violent, but very interesting for sure.
Jamie: Yeah, very violent at times. I think season one and two were better. Season 3, it's okay, but since Pablo Escobar is out of the picture, I'm not super super into it, but it's still interesting.
Mehrban: Yeah same here for sure.
Our audience really enjoys inspiring stories because they can definitely relate. What has been the lowest point in your career, and how were you able to overcome it?
Jamie: So the year I turned pro in 2015, like I said that summer I was a little injured, I played the open and had to take three months off.
And those were a tough three months for me because I never had a serious injury like that before so I didn't know really how to handle it and coming back, I lost a lot of matches. I played two tournaments in the states, lost first round quallies, then last minute I made an impulsive decision to go to Chile to play a 25k, I was like all right, I need matches on red clay.
I lost first round there, go all that way to lose first round. Beginning of the year lost matches, then in January I lost a bunch of matches. Maybe won a few rounds in qualifying, but I don’t think I won a main draw match. Then I went to Midland, Michigan, didn't have much confidence.
I'm like, you know, whatever maybe something will happen. I qualify, make it to the quarters, in the quarters I had some good wins there that gave me a lot of confidence and then I went on to win a 25k the week after in Surprise, Arizona. So I was feeling really good about myself. I think I got a main draw wild card to Indian Wells, and lost to Zarina Diaz like three and four, something like that.
Or actually, I think before Indian Wells I lost 7-6 in the third to Shuai Zhang who was 26 in the world at that point. For a 25k I was surprised she was playing that but you know, still high confidence from that, then after Indian Wells, I believe I went on a 9 match losing streak.
I did not win a single match qualifying, main draw, nothing. Eight matches were on clay one was on hard and I was really really down, very down. I was questioning my decision. I was like is this right? Should I go back to school? Is this right for me? I was only supposed to play I think four tournaments in a row and then I was like, all right I'll play another one. I'll play another one because I'm like, okay. It's another week another week like, I’ll keep training doing better.
I think my coach went to only three out of the eight tournament. So I was by myself for five weeks. And you know, I was like, all right, I'll be fine. I'll be fine.
I think most of those matches I've lost were in three sets. So I was there but I wasn’t winning those matches. So I lost confidence from that, really down and then I made quarters of a 25k and won a 25k. So it's like a trend: I make quarters and then I won one, I go on like a massive losing streak and then I do that and I remember my coach was like yeah, I think I'd prefer you to be a little more consistent and then not lose that many matches in a row, but that was a tough point in my career and I I reflected on that and looked back.
And some of the decisions I made I would definitely not play, it was eight tournaments and then I think maybe like a couple days off and then another one but I still counted as nine in a row. I would recommend not to play eight tournaments or nine tournaments in a row and I knew my breaking point, I knew four is my max maybe five if I'm in the right mind frame, but that was way too much for me.
And from I think a mental and emotional standpoint. So I learned a lot from myself just from that those nine tournaments and yeah it wasn't a fun time, but then I was able to regroup and win,
Mehrban: Yeah, that's incredible. That must be really tough on the psyche and I mean how were you able to regroup because I think for a lot of people as they kept losing each one of I think you said eight or nine in a row, then they would just get in in a worse and worse state.
How were you able to bounce back?
Jamie: To be honest, I don't know. I went home obviously and then my coach went to the first tournament where I made quarters actually. No, I was still going. I think I played the 8 tournaments and I think I took a week off to train. And then I had three tournaments in a row. So in the first one I lost first round.
Second one, I made quarters and then third one my coach wasn't there for but I won El Paso Texas the 25k. I don't know what turned it around to be honest. I don't know. I guess I think honestly winning that first match in the tournament I made quarters of, I think that took a lot of pressure off and relieved some of my stress that I had because I was pretty tight in that match.
It was a match I should have won and I did but ended up being more than what it should be because I didn't win a match for a while. So it just meant a lot and I think just winning that match gave me the momentum again that okay, I'm okay, everything is fine. And yeah, It just takes time.
Mehrban: Right, right and you never gave up, you kept persisting and turned it around. That’s awesome. So going from the lowest point to a more fun question: what has been in your opinion the highlight of your pro career?
Jamie: So far the highlight of my pro career is getting to play all the slams. I know I've been in qualifying of them but to be able to play those...hopefully I can make main draw and qualify, just to see the progression of how I'm doing and those big tournaments. But I guess the biggest one was the 60k I won in Tasmania last year, that was a really big one for me and I try to look back on that from time to time to gain some of that confidence and where I was at in that moment.
So I’d say yeah, those events.
Mehrban: Awesome. Yeah, it's definitely a great accomplishment for sure winning that one, the 60k. And so another great segue thanks to you: I want to ask you about your experience at this year's US Open. I mean, obviously you got a couple of great wins. And then you played Bouchard which was tough.
How do you assess this year's US Open?
Jamie: Yeah, it was definitely tough against Genie. She's playing some really good tennis and you know credit to her for doing that and sustaining it but honestly I thought I was playing really well in all my matches and I haven't been able to say that in a while too. For me putting together three decent matches, even though the last one may not have look so great. But I feel like I was in every game and every point she just played much better, but I learned a lot from that and gained a lot of confidence and I qualified in Chicago and then lost to Martic who won the tournament. So that's a tough first round, but overall, I feel like I have more clarity in my game right now and hopefully I can use that to finish off the rest of the year.
Mehrban: That's awesome. And what are your plans for the rest of the year?Jamie: So I'm going to play a 60k in Templeton on the 24th.
And then I believe I'm going to go to Europe for three weeks and play two WTA’s and then an 80k and then come back and play a couple challengers in the states and maybe a 125k in Houston.
Mehrban: That's awesome. I'm actually going to Europe at the end of September. So I was just curious which countries are you going to?
Jamie: I'm going to Austria, Luxembourg and France.
Mehrban: Nice. Very cool. So as far as the US Open final I know everybody has been commenting on the Serena match and have different viewpoints. What’s your take on that event?
Jamie: Yeah, it seems like the talk of the town lately. I'm all for women and women's rights and everything. So I understand where Serena is coming from. Maybe it's a little exaggerated. I do believe she shouldn't have gotten the game penalty. If anything I thought in that moment, the ref should have been like look Serena, you need to calm down or if you keep talking to me like this you're going to get a game penalty instead of just giving it to her.
I mean people can go back to when Nick Kyrgios played and the rep came down and gave him a pep talk and he was taking nothing against him. But just you know, I feel like the ref could have done something.
He could have said something instead of just staring and not saying anything. They're just giving the game penalty. But I think she is right that guys have said far worse things and have gotten away with it, and maybe she did overreact and maybe she should have stopped and moved on and let go a little bit but it's tough because it's a heat of the moment.
It's the finals of the US Open. There's a lot at stake. And yeah, there's emotions and I feel like we should be able to express our emotions in these pressure-filled situations and we may not always be right but you know the consequence I think wasn't fair for the game penalty, but that's just my take on it.
Mehrban: Yeah, I think that's very well put, I definitely do agree. Sure the reaction wasn't optimal from Serena. But I really do think that it would have been great if Ramos just at least warned her and said hey you should stop and you'll get a game penalty if you keep going.
Appreciate your thoughts. I guess I have to ask this one too, because I know you've been all around the world: Have you had any ridiculous tournament experiences in your career, like maybe really crappy courts or just some ridiculous conditions in a weird country or anything like that?
Jamie: Probably the worst place I've been to is Saint-Gardens, France. I just feel like there’s no people in that town and no restaurants open. It was just very gloomy. I was like in the Twilight Zone. I felt like I told myself I would never go back there. Crazy experiences....nothing that comes to mind at the moment.
I bet you that later when I'm in bed thinking about this at night, I’m going to think of something but that's the only thing that sticks out of my mind right now.
Mehrban: Got ya. I'll be sure to call you back if you think of anything. Haha.
Jamie: I'll have to come back for part two.
Mehrban: Yeah, that'd be good! An episode just about experiences in weird places. Good stuff, good stuff.
I know you've been on for long. I might just try to sneak a couple more questions if you don't mind.
Do you have either a morning or a night routine?
Jamie: Not necessarily. I try to find time at night to unwind and just kind of be by myself. I'm on my phone quite a bit. So it's kind of tough to get off of it. But when I can and just try to relax, that's why I try to watch Netflix, something else, something non-tennis related or something I can enjoy. I guess I'm a morning person. So I'm fine waking up, early in the morning, not super early, but I like getting things done fairly early in the day.
So that's that's pretty much it.
Mehrban: Cool, that's awesome. And so this question is for all the pros out there who are struggling on the good old IG: Instagram. So obviously I mentioned that I revere your Instagram game and I was wondering if you have any tips for fellow Pros or really anybody on how they can get out there more on Instagram because I do think it's great to see more of players on Instagram and it's obviously great for marketing yourself.
So I was wondering if you have any tips about that platform?
Jamie: I think everyone should contact Tessa Lyons.
Mehrban: Nice, haha.
Jamie: Tessa Lyons is the real MVP now, she's definitely helped me a lot. I like using Instagram stories. I find that's entertaining to me and I've got a lot of good feedback on it, people seem to be entertained by it as well.
So that's good. But yeah, I know Tessa has definitely helped me up my Instagram/Twitter Game. Twitter, I don't like as much I don't really know how to tweet about stuff, like I'll retweet things but I don't really, you know have much of a say on things or things that I'm so passionate about that I really want to tweet so I’d say Instagram is probably my favorite social media platform.
It's fun. You have to just use your personality. Everyone is different. I think girls enjoy it more than guys. But yeah, if you have any social media inquiries, I think you should email, call, and text Tessa Lyons, she'll give you some good pointers.
Mehrban: You should list her email address right now.
She definitely wouldn't mind right?
Jamie: Haha. Everyone has to follow me and then I'll give her email out!
Mehrban: Smart, another marketing trick! Just kidding.
Jamie: Yeah, I know things here and there.
Mehrban: Yeah, that's very very evident here. Great stuff appreciate those tips there. What's your favorite food to eat before a tennis match?
Jamie: Haha this is so bad, but I really enjoyed salads and I know they're probably not the best because I think they're hard to digest but like chicken, grilled chicken and avocado in the salad, I really love it. I really love creating my own salad. I'm probably the only person, that's probably something that people don't know about me unless they follow me on social media, which yeah, a lot of people do know this then I really love salad and I really love avocados and that's probably the most basic thing you can say, but that is just me.
There's not many people that really enjoy salad, but I do and I appreciate salad.
Mehrban: Yeah, it's a very healthy food to eat. I've been trying to cut down and lose a little bit of weight to get more mobile and I've been having salad like for dinner pretty much every day and I just had a Cobb salad from Chick-fil-A, which is actually pretty solid.
Jamie: I’m sure there’s other alternatives to that, but.....haha.
Mehrban: Yeah, it’s good stuff. I appreciate that. And I see a lot of players drink all these sorts of weird looking drinks so I am curious as to what you drink to stay hydrated during a tennis match?
Jamie: Pedialyte. I try to play around with different drinks. I don't know what the best electrolyte is, but I use Pedialyte and water.
Thats pretty much it.
Mehrban: Got it. Very solid. I like Pedialyte a lot too. What racquet, string, and tension do you use?
Jamie: I switched to the Yonex V-Core 100 and I usually string Solinco Hyper G at 48 pounds.
Mehrban: Nice nice. And then I know you mentioned Kim Clijsters, so I don't know if this would be the same answer, but who is the friendliest pro male or female on tour?
Jamie: For males I want to say this is an interesting one: Marcos Baghdatis is super nice. I've seen him around quite a bit and somehow we always run into each other and he's just super nice and always makes jokes and I feel like he's someone that anyone can pretty much talk to and have a conversation with.
Actually Wozniacki is very very nice. I didn't even think she really remembered me from when we played because it was not a memorable match for her, but for me it was and I remember I saw her at a tournament not long after that. I don't know when maybe in January and she was super nice and talking to me, so I thought that was really cool and she didn't have to say anything and, yeah, she kicked my butt. So I was like that's kind of cool.
Mehrban: That is very cool. Yeah, I'm really glad to hear that. It's funny that the couple times that I interviewed Marcos, one time he was kind of pissed off about the courts in DC and another time, I think he had a late match.
So I was actually wondering, I mean he was still cool, but I was wondering if he was nice overall. So that's really great to hear. Good stuff. And who is your favorite tennis player of all time?
Jamie: Roger Federer because he is just amazing at life and he's everyone's favorite, not everyone, but the majority of the population in the world because he is Roger Federer. I've actually had the chance to like kind of meet him for a second. So that's nice that I got to, I can say that.
Mehrban: That's awesome.
Jamie: Yeah, he's just amazing on and off the court and I just love watching him play and I think it's incredible that he's still playing at such a high level and I just don't want him to ever retire because it’s just going to be a very sad day.
Mehrban: Agreed I think that's incredible that you've met him. I know you’re a pro so I am not surprised but that’s something that a lot of people want to do. And yeah, it's too bad to see him kind of struggle at the US Open this year. But I really hope he'll come back and want him to win a couple more slams at least.
I want to obviously let everyone know where they can follow you online. So can you let us know your social media handles and whatnot?
Jamie: Yes, so they're all the same: JLoeb308. The 308 stands for my birthday, March 8th, so I hope you guys remember that and wish me a happy birthday on March 8th.
Mehrban: Happy Advanced birthday!
Jamie: Well my half birthday was a few days ago.Mehrban: Dang it, nice!
Jamie: My sisters is JLoeb310. So a lot of people get us mixed up because our handles are very similar. So yeah JLoeb308 on Twitter Instagram Snapchat. On Snapchat I’m on private. Facebook is Facebook.
So yeah, follow me. I will entertain you guys and if you want some great caption inspiration, you know Tessa Lyons is your go-to girl.
Mehrban: That's awesome.
Jamie: Only for me!
Mehrban: You’re definitely not close with Tessa Lyons for sure. Just kidding, haha.
Jamie: She's got the biggest shout out of all time right now.
Mehrban: I know, it's well-deserved.
She's definitely pretty cool. So, Jamie my last question to you is one that I ask pretty much all my guests.
What is one piece of advice that you can give our audience on how they can improve their tennis games (they're mostly amateur players)?
Jamie: I think the first thing is you need to enjoy the sport. You have to truly enjoy it and want it.
Dedicate your time to make sacrifices. If you don't enjoy it then you're not going to have the results, you're going to waste your own time and and your parents money and they won't appreciate that. So I'd say you definitely should enjoy it, have fun with it. That's very cliche. But if you're not having fun, then what's the point of doing it. You have to really love it and whether you want to turn pro, play college tennis, definitely set goals for yourself and do your best to follow through with them and even if you don't, you want to look in the mirror every day and be like look, I gave it my all, I gave it my best and this is all I can ask for.
Mehrban: Love that advice Jamie.
And before I thank you profusely for coming on to the podcast, I also just want to give a shout out to Ale Pedergnana, who I hope I didn't butcher the last name.
And I think it was just really hilarious because at the Players party I approached you and I was like, hey, I know you're friends with Ale! I think it was too loud.
Jamie: I'm like, I know a lot of Ale's.
Mehrban: Yeah, and so that was so funny because then the next day I look at my phone and then I see that you messaged me like wait, okay now I know who you're talking about because I probably didn't say Ale’s name well or something but yeah, that was hilarious. Shout out to Ale.
Jamie, thank you so much for coming onto The Tennis Files Podcast.
It was a lot of fun. And we spent a lot of time chatting and I really appreciate your time and know you're busy and training a lot and traveling but it's very easy to support a really fun, great player like you so I wish you all the best moving forward and thanks so much for coming onto the podcast!
Jamie: Thank you so much!
Mehrban: All right. I hope you enjoyed my interview with Jamie Loeb. As I mentioned, best of luck to her moving forward. I really had a fantastic time chatting with her and learning more about her career and what types of things has led her to reach the greatest levels of the game.
I really would appreciate it if you’d subscribe to the Tennis Files Podcast and you can do that by hitting the subscribe button in the podcast app of your choice. And if you want to check out any of the links or the show notes for this episode, you can just go to tennisfiles.com/66.
And as I always like to do at the end of a show, I am going to leave you with a quote, and this one is by Francis of Assisi, and he said:
“Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you're doing the impossible.”
Love that quote. Thanks again for tuning in to this episode of The Tennis Files Podcast!
I highly encourage that you follow Jamie on her social media platforms and when she plays. Definitely a great player to watch.
Once again, I really appreciate you tuning in to this episode of the show, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of The Tennis Files Podcast. Take care everyone!
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Tennis Files Podcast! For more tips to help you improve your tennis game, visit tennisfiles.com.
Please let me know what you think about whether I should keep doing transcripts for the podcast! Based on your feedback, I'll decide whether to keep doing the transcripts or scrap it. It's an added cost (obviously), and I actually had this one automatically transcribed then fixed it up myself and it took a ton of time, so I'll have to figure out a better way if you want me to keep doing the transcripts. Thanks for your feedback!
Time-Stamped Show Notes
- [1:57] Jamie’s incredible dance moves
- [4:09] Breaking the myth about Jamie’s mom being her coach
- [5:43] How her family influenced her game growing up
- [7:25] When Jamie knew she wanted to turn pro
- [8:35] How Jamie’s sister Jenna won a state championship on a broken ankle
- [8:59] Her tennis role models
- [9:37] Three things that most of the world doesn’t know about Jamie Loeb
- [12:03] When Jamie started seriously training for tournaments
- [13:14] How many tournaments she played as a junior
- [14:02] Was burnout ever an issue as a junior player?
- [15:37] The decision to finish up high school online
- [17:30] Is high school tennis is a good training ground for serious junior tournament players, and potential improvements
- [19:30] Jamie’s experience training at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy
- [20:29] A typical day like at JMTA
- [21:30] Practice matches with John McEnroe and why he never does mini-tennis
- [24:45] Playing at the US Open in 2015 vs. Wozniacki after winning the American Collegiate Invitational
College Tennis at UNC
- [27:23] Deciding to attend UNC instead of going pro full-time
- [30:47] What is your first memory of your college tennis career?
- [32:03] Elements of Jamie’s game she improved the most while at UNC
- [33:42] How to develop maximal focus and tunnel vision
- [36:57] The most important piece of advice her coach Brian gave her at UNC
- [39:51] How many days a week the team trained fitness vs on-court practice in the fall season, and how that changed in the spring
- [41:31] Deciding to leave school early to turn pro
- [42:30] Big differences between college tennis and the pro tour
- [43:59] Focusing on the dynamic warm-up
- [45:27] A typical day of training while on the tour
- [46:18] How much weight training is part of her fitness?
- [47:28] Traveling with a coach, and how frequently her coach joins her at tournaments
- [48:54] Does she travel with other team members besides her coach (physio, stringer, etc)?
- [50:48] How hard it is to stay afloat financially on the tour
- [52:25] The most expensive things pros have to pay for
- [53:15] Housing with volunteer families
- [54:01] Jamie’s relationship with her fellow American players and the kinds of activities they do together
- [55:24] What Jamie does to relax from training and tournaments
- [56:45] The lowest point in Jamie’s career and how she overcame it
- [1:02:08] The highlight of her pro career
- [1:03:13] Her experience at this year’s US Open at her home tournament
- [1:04:08] Jamie’s tournament plans for the rest of the year
- [1:04:56] Her thoughts on this year's US Open final and the controversy at the end of the Williams-Osaka match
- [1:07:05] The most ridiculous tournament experience of her career
- [1:08:05] Getting things done in the morning
- [1:09:09] Tips for improving your Instagram game
- [1:10:45] Jamie’s favorite food to eat before a tennis match
- [1:11:59] Jamie’s drink of choice to stay hydrated during a tennis match
- [1:12:16] Jamie’s racquet, string and tension
- [1:12:37} The friendliest ATP and WTA pros
- [1:14:03] Jamie’s favorite tennis player of all time
- [1:15:06] Jamie’s social media accounts
- [1:16:28] Advice from Jamie to improve your tennis game
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