Bruno Soares enjoyed a busy season in 2019 that began and ended with titles but had a major change, the change of British Jamie Murray by Croatian Mate Pavic. Despite the three titles in 2019, the doubler failed to achieve his best results and, after starting the year in seventh place, finished in 21st.
After a few efforts, including a final in the 2012 US Open and the semifinals of the 2008 and 2013 French Opens, Soares finally won his first Grand Slam title at the 2016 Australian Open, partnering Jamie Murray and then followed that up with a second men's doubles title at the 2016 US Open.
He has also won three Grand Slam titles in Mixed Doubles, two at the US Open, in 2012 and 2014, and one at the Australian Open in 2016. He was the third Brazilian tennis player to achieve this, after Maria Bueno and Thomaz Koch.
In a new entry in Behind the Racquet's photo-essay series, the Brazilian player discussed his career: “For the first six years of my life I grew up in Iraq. My dad was a civil engineer and worked with a large Brazilian company back in the ‘80s.
My parents moved to Iraq, while my mother was pregnant, to build a highway. My father moved first, alone for the first seven months, before my mom was ready to leave with me. I was about two months old at the time. It was a very interesting experience back then.
Saddam Hussein was still in command, but it was quite a normal place, besides the cultural differences from Brazil. Few years after we moved the Gulf War began and we were forced to move back to Brazil. After leaving we lived in a few places in Brazil.
We spent some time in Belo, some time in Fortaleza, four years in Rio de Janeiro and then ended back in Belo. This moving really didn’t stop until I was 17. I actually began playing tennis when I was in Iraq, starting around five years old while my family and I were living in camps.
These camps helped us live along the highway my father was building so he didn’t have to travel back and forth. The main camp was this really small place which had a school of Brazilians, in the middle of nowhere. I started going to this country club early on.
I began playing with a ball and racquet while watching my parents play for the first time. It was around this time when we moved to Baghdad and I asked my dad to put me in a tennis lesson. I did that for one year until we were forced to move back to Brazil.
where I continued my practice. Since I was six years old I didn't have many friends, so the move was easy. After that, with the moves around Brazil, it felt like I could never settle, only in a place for two/three years at the time.
We had no phone, no internet, nothing. Basically, once you move from a place, you pretty much don’t have contact with your friends. That was tough because I always ended up getting there, enjoying the place, making friends and then had to move again.
I guess, looking at it now, it was good practice for me, making what I do now so much easier. It may have helped me get to where I am today. I don't see myself grinding again if I drop my ranking a lot since I have two kids to think about.
I love the game. The plan is three more years, but I would say if I'm top 20 or 25, I might keep on playing. For about five years now I’ve been working on my plan after tennis. I do invest in a few companies and I do some work, which has got nothing to do with tennis.
I'm an investor in an Açaí company called OakBerry, which I helped get into the US Open. I'm also partnered on an investment bank here back in Brazil. I’ve always wanted to be involved in tennis. There is this one academy, and two country clubs here in Brazil that I am a part of, partnering with Guga.
We have about 400 kids right now, so I definitely plan to stay in Brazil. I love that my kids have the chance to watch me play tennis and compete. It is tough at times to balance my job with spending time with kids, My son is starting to understand winning and losing, and now he has many questions about everything.
It is not easy to travel with them, with all the expenses, but I have enjoyed any time they can come. I just hope they are proud of me”.