Benjamin Balleret, 29, was born into the sport of tennis as he grew up playing tennis at the Monte Carlo Country Club.. His father played and coached Benjamin while he was in juniors and his mother, a tennis coach also and was involved with the Cote d’Azur region. During his years in juniors, Benjamin was a semi-finalist in the Sunshine Cup. In 2006, the ace in Benjamin’s career was when he qualified for the ATP tournament, the first in his career. During the tournament, in his hometown of Monte Carlo, Benjamin defeated the former top-10, Jonas Bjorkman in the final round on Centre Court.
I spoke to Benjamin on March 14th, while he was in Mexico on the ATP Challenger Tour. Benjamin was in his hotel room, soon to have lunch and then attend his match. (Benjamin Balleret / Edouard Roger-Vasselin v Thiago Alves / Paul Capdeville live on 14 March 2012 from 17:00 GMT.)
I asked Benjamin about his match that was a few short hours away from commencing. Benjamin said, “Today I play a double-match against a guy from Brazil and a guy from Chili. I am on the ATP Challenger Tour, one of the big ones. I lost a single on Sunday and now there is the double today then we go to France for the next tournament. Soon we will in Morocco – near my hometown of Monaco, I was born and I grew up there!”
As Benjamin has lived and breathed the sport of Tennis since he was a young boy, summarizing his career so far is not difficult because simply put, tennis is his life, he said, “I have played tennis all my life because my parents are both coaches. My father was my first coach until I was 18-years old. I am born into tennis and it is my life now! I played a Junior Tour when I was 16 until I was 18-years old. I started to travel a lot and I could see what professional tennis was really about. Since then I have been playing on the tour for now 10-years. I have had some good matches as well as tournaments. I have played against some very good players like James Blake who is one of the top American players. I love being on tour and I love tennis. I am now travelling with a coach, Diddier Lanne, for 3-years. We are really focused on our goals and what is important to us and that is reaching the top! We set high goals and work towards them.”
As for his athletic-gear, Benjamin said, “Lacoste sponsors me, for my tennis-wear and Babolat for my rackets. The Babolat rackets are very good and I really like them.”
Benjamin continued and explained his training regime to me, he said, “There is a lot of training on-court, during games and practices. For practices I do 2-hours in the morning and 2-hours in the afternoon. Physical training can be on-court or off-court. It is important to prevent injury and not do too much. I work hard to stay fit, not injured and I respect my bodies recovered period. Rest is very important because sometimes you can play 5-matches in 5-days and that is for 2 or 3-weeks in a row. You cannot play if you are not in shape!”
I asked Benjamin what type of meal he would eat before a match. He said, “Pasta! And if I get sick of eating pasta I will eat another type of high-carb meal. You have to make sure to eat simple things, like meat or pasta. I also will have a cereal bar for during the match and I put an energy-mix into my drink also. “
Aside from tennis, Benjamin is an all-around-sports-fanatic! He said, “I love all sports! Soccer, NBA – I am a fanatic of all sports! I find them all to be interesting and I love to follow all of them. I also enjoy watching movies and I love music. When I am on tour, I have a lot of spare time in between matches, so I use my computer and pass the time by watching movies and listening to music. I also like to talk with my friends and family through the computer because I do not get to see them very often. It is very important for me to stay in touch with them because they support me and I need their support. My family has supported me since I have been very young. It is also important for me to talk with my little brother who is 13 and to show him what it is like to be a professional tennis player. “
I asked Benjamin how long a tour lasts for and he said, “I have been on tour for almost 11-years. A tour runs for 11-months. There is no tournament in December for the holidays, but then you have to prepare for the upcoming season. Overall, the off-season is very short. It is a 2-week holiday and then we are free for four-weeks to get ready and practice for the new season. The tour opens in January, usually.” He continued, “I am pretty much touring all year long! I have done a lot of travelling! American, South America, Europe and Asia, etc., we go everywhere! You have to love tennis and be dedicated to the sport because it requires a lot of commitment. You can feel homesick sometimes so it is important to remember that tennis is your passion. Otherwise, you will not get through it!” Benjamin mentioned, “Soon I will be in France and I will be able to go home to Monaco and I will practice there when I have a few days off.”
It is very important to Benjamin that he stays grounded throughout his professional career and stays connected with the younger kids of his home-town that look to him as a role-model. Benjamin said, “It is nice also because there are a lot of kids there who look at me like a ‘Superhero’ because I am on the Professional Tour. It is important for me to show and share my experience with them. I love being in Monaco because I get to see my family and all the people that I love. It is very special for me to share my experience with the younger kids.”
Benjamin’s hard work, dedication and passion towards the sport of Tennis will allow for such great success towards all of his goals. Along with his kind personality, Benjamin is a great example of a professional athlete and role model for the future tennis stars of tomorrow.
*Note: Since the date we spoke, the ATP tour continues and next weekend Benjamin will be playing in Morocco with the Monaco Davis Cup Team, which is a great competition – the biggest worldwide!
Check out Benjamin’s ATP World Tour Profile!
See more of Benjamin, here!
For more information on Benjamin’s Coach, Didier Lanne, click here!
Written By: Michelle Coveny