TFP 068: How Gregory Howe Chased His Dream of Getting an ATP Ranking

TFP 068: How Gregory Howe Chased His Dream of Getting an ATP Ranking

On Episode 68 of The Tennis Files Podcast, I spoke with Gregory Howe about how he decided to quit his job as a 34-year old to travel the world playing professional tennis tournaments in search of an ATP ranking. On top of that, Greg wrote a fantastic book called Chasing Points: A Season On The Pro Tennis Circuit detailing his pursuit of his ultimate dream. I have been reading the book and it truly is a fantastic peek into the life of professional tennis, particularly at the lower levels of the sport where people are struggling to make it to the big stage.

Greg set his goal of achieving an ATP ranking almost two decades before he decided to drop everything and travel the world, playing Futures tournaments, finally doing what he set out to accomplish, and then eventually playing Challengers and even ATP Tour events while working a job. You will love Greg's story, as it is a very relatable goal for many players, and he had he stones to go through so much adversity and travel to achieve what he dreamed of doing. I highly recommend you check out Greg's book, Chasing Points: A Season On The Pro Tennis Circuit, as it is extremely detailed and a very entertaining read.

It was a pleasure speaking with Greg on the podcast, and I know you'll really enjoy this episode about Greg's journey to achieving his ultimate goal of getting an ATP ranking, no matter what it took. We all dream about getting a pro ranking; even I tried my hand at a Futures event a couple years ago. You can listen to my recap of how my pro tournament experience went here (and check out my amazing cover photo skills while you're at it 🙂 ).

Let us know what you think about this episode in the comments below!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [5:04] How Greg got his start playing tennis
  • [6:00] Playing with his brother on tour
  • [6:57] Greg’s role models growing up
  • [8:25] The peaks and valleys of his junior career.
  • [10:06] An early pro tournament experience that got Greg hooked on playing the Pro Circuit
  • [11:39] The diversity of players in the Gladstone pro tournament
  • [12:50] The difference between those who bounce back and those who give up when adversity hits
  • [14:23] How Greg’s ultimate goal ended up haunting him throughout his life
  • [15:35] The motivation to want to give his dream 100% effort
  • [16:49] Why Greg quit his job to play the pro circuit, even though he had a solid life going for him and despite the risks of doing so.
  • [18:01] How Greg quit his job and what he said to his boss
  • [19:04] What Greg’s wife (then girlfriend) thought about his decision to quit
  • [19:43] The perks of dating someone who works for an airline
  • [20:58] Financial planning for Greg’s travels around the world playing pro tournaments
  • [22:14] The number of countries Greg traveled to during his pro circuit experience that year
  • [23:47] The difference between the different levels on tour (Futures, Challengers, ATP) and ITF vs ATP organizations
  • [25:55] What drew Greg to the ATP Pro touring life the most
  • [26:49] Getting shots before traveling to tournaments
  • [27:58] How Greg managed to recount his experiences so vividly for the book
  • [29:06] Using huge notebooks to write about his travels
  • [30:03] How much luggage Greg brought around the world
  • [31:45] Giving up 45 minutes into a morning training session with Roger Federer’s former coach in Thailand the day before his Futures tournament
  • [33:21] The biggest ups and downs Greg experienced in the several months leading up to getting his first ATP point
  • [35:42] How Greg came back from a devastating injury and his mindset
  • [36:57] The tournament that got Greg his first ATP point 
  • [39:43] What Greg was thinking during the last point of the match that would finally earn him his ATP ranking and achieve his dream
  • [40:49] The play-by-play of the last point and an incredible shot that Greg has never hit in his life ever again
  • [41:36] How Greg got into the zone in the third set
  • [43:41] How Greg got to play in Challenger and ATP Tour level events after achieving a world ranking
  • [44:59] The changes that have made it more difficult to play Challenger and ATP Tour events
  • [46:21] The main differences in player quality between the Challenger, Futures, and ATP Tour events
  • [47:14] How Greg was able to balance work with traveling to pro tournaments around the globe
  • [48:45] The greatest lessons Greg learned from playing on the pro circuit
  • [50:27] Greg’s worst tournament location/experience
  • [51:40] Greg’s favorite country to play tournaments in
  • [52:57] Greg future plans and continuing to compete in Futures at the age of 47
  • [54:14] Where to follow Greg online, and how to get his book, Chasing Points: A Season On The Pro Tennis Circuit
  • [55:06] One key tip to help us improve our tennis games

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Chasing Points: A Season On The Pro Tennis Circuit - Greg's fantastic book

Tennis Files Youtube Channel - Subscribe!  You know you want to 😉

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