Thomaz Bellucci is in the United States to prepare the next season. Since early December at IMG Academy, he has been preparing for a year-round start on American soil. For 15 years in the professional circuit, the Brazilian doesn't want to make ranking plans and wants to think about short term goals.
Bellucci used a string of ATP Challenger Tour victories early in 2008 to break into the top 100 rankings of the ATP World Tour as a 20-year-old. He has won 4 ATP World Tour titles (the 2009 and 2012 Swiss Open, the 2010 Movistar Open and the 2015 Geneva Open) and reached the semi-finals of the 2011 Madrid Masters.
In a 'Behind the Racquet' interview, Thomaz Bellucci opened his heart and spoke about the difficulties he faced after his suspension for doping: “It's very tough to be playing small tournaments, ones I didn’t play often when I was younger.
It’s a process for me. Two years ago, I had a problem with my supplements and medications and I was forced to stop playing for about five months, and that is when my ranking dropped. This was a really sad time in my life, while I was home, not competing.
I was extremely depressed for many reasons. I was worried about my image and the example this was set for the kids back home. We don’t have many players in Brazil and for them to now see one of their top players suspended is never a good thing.
It took some time but I am in a better place now and looking at how to push forward. After this, I had no confidence that I could be back in the top 100. On top of this all I dealt with a few injuries that made the situation worse and worse.
Regardless of what tournaments I play I still enjoy competing, but I am giving myself a couple more years to try to break back into the top 100 until I stop. From a young age, I suffered from all the pressure my parents put on me, from what my father put on me.
I think the relationship between the players and their parents are quite often a problem. Many don't know how to help their children the right way. I suffered because I wanted to become a tennis player so badly but I had to prove to my parents that I had what it took.
When I stop playing I want to help parents and players learn how to manage it all and enjoy tennis, not only put the pressure on winning. I think when I was young there were too many times when I didn’t enjoy the sport.
I don't blame my parents because they never played tennis, they didn’t know much. They had very little knowledge of how hard it is to win a tournament or even become a professional. When I lost a match, I was not supported or spoken to nicely.
They were just really negative. I was constantly crying after losses, knowing they were going to say something bad to me after the match. It was not a good environment for me to improve, I wasn’t relaxed or having fun. Again, I do not blame my parents they just didn’t know and I don’t want others to make the same mistake.
I want to help new players come up by passing on my experiences to them. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do since I still want to focus on my career now. I don't want to lose these feelings and experiences, everything I worked so hard to learn, and not pass them on to the next generation”.