On the face of it, 22 year old Julian Ocleppo is one of just many journeymen on the tennis circuit. He is ranked No. 309 in the singles rankings and No. 231 in the doubles rankings and reached the semi-finals of the recently concluded ATP Challenger event in Bengaluru, India.
However, not many know that his mother Dee Ocleppo is married to the American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and he has also walked the ramp for the Hilfiger brand in Milan. Speaking to ESPN India, Ocleppo says, "They're two very different worlds.
It is fun to be part of the fashion universe and wear those fancy clothes at times. But my focus is tennis." Julian was introduced to the sport by his father, Gianni Ocleppo, a former top-30 player himself. "Life on the tour is tough.
Constant travel can be difficult but it is part of what we do as tennis players and over the years I've learnt to adapt to different places quicker. It's part of my mom's life...the luxury... We meet during the holidays...
Christmas, Thanksgiving. Tommy comes over to watch me play in tournaments sometimes. He's supportive of what I do. Otherwise, we don't really meet or speak much." Occlepo says he needs to become mentally stronger to compete at the higher levels but knows that tennis is where he belongs.
"My dad has been such a huge part of my dream. I think what I need to get better at is my mental game. The top-level tournaments like the Grand Slams are a completely different beast. When you see guys like (Roger) Federer and (Rafa) Nadal, you realize you need to be inhuman to be as good as them. Tennis is where I belong...It's who I am and where I want to remain."