Alison Van Uytvanck, the current nr.47 in the WTA ranking, shared — for BehindTheRacquet — how her girlfriend, Grace Minnen helped her raise from the sorrows of her past that involved bullying and a whole array of insecurities.
“I was around ten or eleven years old when I first went to the Belgium Federation to train. I quickly realized it was not going to be what I thought it would. I began to be bullied every day by the other kids, who were mostly guys.
They would constantly make fun of my hair and it would make me feel miserable. I never felt so alone, having no friends and unable to really talk to parents”. , confessed Alison. Van Uytvanck’s tough period at the Belgian federation ended after she was kicked out.
“It came to an end when I was kicked out. Beyond not fitting in I was consistently injured and the people at the top didn’t believe in me and how my tennis was improving. It was the toughest moment of my life but has made me the person I am today.
It took some time to get passed the experiences I dealt with. My self-esteem was very low and I stopped trusting myself. I started to believe the kids that once told me that I actually wasn’t beautiful and it led to my lack of confidence in tennis”.
, said Alison. Who finally put Van Uytvanck on the right track were the psychologists and her girlfriend, Greet Minnen. Actually, the two even played doubles at Wimbledon. “I first spoke to many psychologists about my traumas, who really were the first people I opened up to.
As many know, I came out about three years ago, when I was 22. From what I went through it gave me the courage to open up, which I was nervous to do. I have been fortunate to find my girlfriend, Greet Minnen, who I have been with for the past three years now.
My girlfriend is a huge piece of why I am so happy today. She is one of the first people, outside my family, to give me confidence and tell me I’m beautiful just the way I am, including my hair. “, continued Uytvanck.
Fortunately, the Belgian is feeling happy now and she wants to help other kids who experience difficulties integrating. “I feel like myself now, doing what I want to do, even participating in Pride Day during the US Open.
Through all my experiences I feel like I need to share my story with others to hopefully help them. My girlfriend and I will sometimes train back at the federation and we talk to as many kids as possible… If I ever get down I remember the kids that bullied me, who ‘had more potential’, are not playing tennis anymore, and here I am!”, concluded Alison. See the whole story on BehindTheRacquet.