American tennis star Danielle Collins says she is happy she went to college rather than turn professional at an early age in a column for Tennishead. The 25-year-old Collins says she was not ready to turn pro while still being a teenager and is happy about her decision.
"I don’t think I was ready to turn pro when I was younger, just from a maturity standpoint. I also wanted to get an education. I wouldn’t have been happy if I had turned pro at 17 or 18. There are a lot of players who when they were little their parents made them into these child prodigies.
It’s not their choice. That’s just the way they were brought up. I’m glad that everything has been on my terms. It hasn’t been on my parents’ terms. I’ve gotten to make the choices on my own, what I want to do with my life.
I think most kids that turn pro when they’re under 18, I don’t think that’s necessarily their choice. It’s their parents’ choice. Very few players make it to the top. If you’ve got a lot of money or if your federation helps you, go for it.
But if, like me, you don’t come from a wealthy family, taking that gamble is not the right decision in my opinion”. Collins adds that not being specially gifted at tennis made her work hard for her success on and off the court.
"I don’t have that kind of arrogance, that feeling that I’ve always been very good. I think a lot of players, because they’ve always been really good at tennis and they knew from a young age that they were going to be something special, they think that because they’re a tennis player that makes them maybe different from other people in the world.
And it really doesn’t. Because you take that away and they’re just a normal person as well. I’m really happy that I didn’t fall into that trap because you can have a lot of success playing tennis and you can make a lot of money, but at the end of the day I think you want to try to be the best that you can be outside the tennis court”.
The American, who had her big breakthrough at the Australian Open in January this year, is also working on her own jewelry brand, something she says she enjoys to get her mind away from tennis. "When you’re on tour it’s hard to be able to have something [away from tennis] that you really enjoy but I’ve found that with jewelry.
I will see something and think: ‘Oh, I want to make that into a necklace.’ Or I’ll just have little parts of my brain that go off and then I’ll draw or sketch something out and perhaps send it to a jeweler and then they’ll make it. I’m the one that has had to scrap for everything that I have. It’s not been easy at times”.