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A Coach's Impact: Mitchell Krueger on his parents

Mitchell Krueger
April 29, 2016 10:40 AM

Mitchell Krueger won his first USTA Pro Circuit tournament last year at the $15,000 Futures in Los Angeles. The 22-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, was the top-ranked American junior boy in 2012, peaking at a career-high No. 5 in the world junior rankings and advancing to the boys’ singles semifinals at the French Open and Wimbledon that year before turning pro in July. Currently ranked No. 274 in the world, Krueger comes from a tennis-playing family. His father, Myron, played college tennis at Texas A&M, and his mother, Maria, is a tennis coach who played at Louisiana Tech. Krueger, now coached by USTA National Coach Stanford Boster, writes about the influence his parents had on his tennis from the first time he picked up a racquet as a toddler.

By Mitchell Krueger

Growing up, my biggest influence when it came to tennis was definitely both of my parents. My whole family has always been involved with sports for as long as I can remember, especially tennis.

My love for the game all started when I was about 3 years old. Both my parents played growing up, so by the time I was big enough to hold a racquet in my hand, they began introducing me. My mom always taught lessons to other kids on the weekends at a local park near my house, so I would always tag along and spend the entire time smacking balls against the big concrete wall, obviously having no clue what I was really doing. To me it was a ton of fun, and I really enjoyed it.

Realizing my infatuation, my parents spent countless hours playing around with me on the courts. As the years went by, my dad and I would have countless battles against each other on these same courts. Neither of us could ever stand losing to the other, and I can recall many silent car rides home. But that competitiveness still drives me today.

As I got old enough to fully understand what was going on and how to keep score, I began playing small local tournaments in Fort Worth. If only they'd known what they were getting themselves into! It felt like every weekend there was another tournament to play and another trophy to hopefully win, and right there watching me play would be either my mom or my dad or sometimes both of them.

I can't even remotely comprehend the amount of time and effort (and miles driven) they invested to get me to where I am today. They literally taught me everything there is to know about how to play when I was little, and, most importantly, they always ensured I was having fun. Whether it was instructing me on how to hold the racquet for a forehand or backhand before I even knew what those words meant, or trying to cheer me up after a crushing loss (and inevitably drying some tears), I owe everything I have to them.

When I look back on my memories from back then, it's remarkable to see how far I've really come. Who would've thought that nearly 20 years later I'd be traveling the world, making a living by playing the game my parents taught me when I was just barely a toddler?

And my parents are still there supporting me every step of the way. No matter what country I'm playing in or what time zone I'm in, I always know that they're watching and rooting for me during every point. Without their influence to guide me, I have no idea where I'd be. But because of them, I'm able to do what I love every single day, and for that I'm eternally grateful.