Ryler DeHeart: A Look into the Man and his Drive

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Ryler DeHeart: A Look into the Man and his Drive

Ryler DeHeart ranked at the end of the 2010 year at #236 in the world was born in Kauai, Hawaii and moved to Tampa, Florida at the age of two with his parents. He has two half-sisters Jennee and Gabrielle and is the only son of William and Debbie DeHeart.

At the age of six he began to play tennis strongly due to the fact that his family played tennis for fun. Ryler took an interest in the sport so his mom enrolled him into a tennis and swim summer camp at a local club in Tampa.

This began his drive to play professional. This drive was cultivated by his first coach Tomas Ollestad at the tennis club in Tampa. At the age of 12 when Ryler showed potential in developing a skill for the sport he was recruited by Steve Smith; who trained Tomas Ollestad to teach tennis and was a very skilled teacher and technician.

In Ryler’s earlier years starting in the 2000’s he accomplished several feats such as; 2003 reaching 2nd round in a Futures in Peoria, Illinois, 2004 advanced to 2nd round at the Decatur Futures, 2005 reaching the Semifinals at Decatur’s Future- US Futures #20 and the Quarterfinals in the Kenosha, Wisc.

USTA #21 Futures. By the time Ryler reached 2006 he had dug his heels in the Tour and won his first pro title at the Futures #19 and reaching the finals at the US Futures #20. He then later on in the season advanced to the finals at the US Futures #24 but lost.

It became apparent that by the year 2007, Ryler had to make a point to everyone on the circuit that he was going to be a force to watched as he developed a 31-15 record in Future events and winning the title at US Futures #20 and beginning a back to back Semifinals at Canadian’s #2 and #3, US #11 and #12, with reaching Quarterfinals in Knoxville Challenger with ending showing a 8 – 10 status.

Ryler is not just a tennis great, but he is also a very educated person by earning a degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign in Psych Pre-Med as he played with the memorable college team coached by Craig Tiley; who left the University to be the Tournament Director of the Australian Open.

During his time at the university he earned the title of All-American as a Junior and Senior and winning the National Indoor Singles. This time on the team he shared the spotlight with his teammates such as Amer Delic and Rajeev Ram; while earning the rank of #1 in the nation.

I asked Ryler about his experience playing at the University of Illinois – Champaign and he stated that “I had an amazing experience playing college tennis at the University of Illinois and if I could do it all over again would not change anything about it including my decision to finish my degree before turning pro.

Craig Tiley and Brad Dancer (the current head coach) were crucial in the development of my game and transition from college tennis to the pros. My time at Illinois taught me time management as a student-athlete, the value of hard work and discipline, and most importantly how to continually look for ways to improve in everything I do”.

As I thought about what makes Ryler tick and determined to strive to be better I put together several questions that would explain Ryler DeHeart ‘s thoughts and determination during his career in the tennis industry.

Tennis World USA: How was your 2010? What are your tennis goals for 2011?
Ryler DeHeart: 2010 was a great year with a lot of great experiences and was the first year since I turned pro that I was able to play a full schedule, which was an accomplishment in its own right at least to me.

I got a bit burnt out at the end and I am trying to rest and rejuvenate in preparation for another full schedule and awesome year in 2011.
Tennis World USA: Could you walk us through a typical day of training for you? Ryler DeHeart: It is really difficult to describe a typical day of training because it varies so much depending on when it is during the season and where I am etc.

Tennis World USA: Can you explain what type of training that you go through before a tournament? Can you explain a typical day when you're playing a tournament? Ryler DeHeart: During a tournament I try to stay fresh and not overdue the training since I want to be physically and mentally ready and hungry for my matches.

My days typically involve some light hitting and grooving and any exercises I can do to stay loose and healthy. If I lose early and feel healthy I will obviously increase the amount of training I do. Tennis World USA: What is your least favorite part of training? Ryler DeHeart: Cardio since I have never been a great endurance athlete.

Tennis World USA: How many hours do you spend on the court every day? And in the gym? Ryler DeHeart: It varies a whole lot depending on whether I am competing or in an off week or a training week, but I would say between 2-4 hours of tennis and at least an hour of extra work off the court 3-4 times a week.

It’s also crucial to have time for rest and relaxation. Tennis World USA: Which is your favorite surface and why? And what tournaments use this surface that has been tournaments you forward to each year? Ryler DeHeart: I have had my best results on hard courts simply because we play most of the tournaments on that surface, however I very much enjoy playing on different surfaces like clay and grass.

I am really looking forward to playing in the French Open and Wimbledon in 2011. Tennis World USA: What is the strongest part of your game? What about the weakest; and what do you do in your training to work on that? Ryler DeHeart: I would say my serve and my forehand are my biggest strengths on the court and my backhand is my main weakness.

I train to work on all the shots, continuing to strengthen my weapons and spend extra time improving my weaknesses. Tennis World USA: How do you do after losing a match and how do you cope with that feeling? Do you sit down later on and look at the match you lost and pick yourself apart in regards what should have been done? Ryler DeHeart: I think every athlete looks back at the games/matches they played and tries to learn from them and see what they did well and what they could have done better.

It’s sometimes very hard to be objective when there are so many emotions involved especially in an individual sport like tennis, but it is so important to keep a clear mind and not become too emotional about losses.

Nobody enjoys losing, but you have to realize it is just a game and have a short memory so you can continue to enjoy the experience and the process and be ready for the next time you get to compete. Ryler is spending time relaxing and preparing for the upcoming 2011 tour year and during this time he is spending time just contemplating what is coming up in the New Year, but he also is just a person like the rest of us who love him and love to watch him play.

So to satisfy the demands of some of his fans here are some questions that we have put together that Ryler was happy to answer for them: Fan: What music do you listen to? Ryler DeHeart: I listen to a huge variety of music, but my favorite is alternative and techno/trance if I had to pick.

Fan: What is never missing from your tennis bag? Ryler DeHeart: Well my tennis racquets obviously and I would say some extra clothes and wristbands because I do sweat a lot. Ha-ha Fan: Do you change your string tension when you changes surfaces? How drastically? Ryler DeHeart: Yes but not significantly; only a few pounds here or there.

Fan: What kind of strings do you use? Ryler DeHeart: I am currently trying out some new strings, but play with a version of the typical polyester string that most of the pros are using these days.
Fan: What string tension do you like to play with? Ryler DeHeart: Around 55 lbs.

Fan: What grip sizes do you like? Ryler DeHeart: 4 & 3/8 Fan: Do you like reading? If so, what kind of books do you prefer? Ryler DeHeart: I do enjoy reading although I don’t do it as much as I should.

When I do read I like reading non-fiction books particularly inspirational ones or sports stories. I also enjoy reading about things I know absolutely nothing about because I want to avoid going brain-dead and just playing tennis all the time.

Fan: What is your favorite movie? Ryler DeHeart: I am a huge movie guy so it’s very difficult to narrow it down. Some of my favorites are Gladiator, Last of the Mohicans, and Shawshank Redemption.

I love Dumb and Dumber and a scary movie with the lights out like Paranormal Activity. I am going to see part 2 this week. Fan: What is your favorite food? Ryler DeHeart: I love Thai food and also like sushi and Italian and there is nothing like good ol’ fashioned Mac n Cheese.

Fan: Do you like tasting all kinds of different foods when you travel abroad for tennis? Ryler DeHeart: Honestly one of my favorite activities. I have gotten food poisoning numerous times but its well worth it.

Ryler DeHeart is planning very carefully on what he is going to do in the 2011 tour schedule; so when I asked him what his schedule will look like he has determined that, “I only have up till February planned out.

I am playing the warm up tournaments before the Australian Open in Brisbane and Sydney (qualifying of all of them) and then coming back to the United States for a challenger in Honolulu and probably staying in the US after that”.

Ryler DeHeart is sponsored by Athletic DNA for apparel and Prince for his tennis racquets and it seems to be a great match between them. Ryler is also represented by KB Sports Management LLC and the future of the two looks great.

Well, Ryler DeHeart watching you play is always a thrill and over the 2011 tour schedule we will be closing watching and cheering you on. We wish you a promising career and a wonderful season this coming season.