On 18th June 2013, at the age of 26, I played my last competitive singles match as a professional tennis player. Like many before me that moment arrived with an overwhelming number of powerful and conflicting emotions. Reaching the point of retirement has been one of the most significant moments in my life and one that took an incredible amount of thought, reasoning and eventually bravery to make that decision. The big question for me was “what now?”
From a very young age I was always acutely aware that my tennis career would not last forever. However, it was only in the few months leading up to my retirement that I became very interested and motivated in developing a new career in the corporate world. That is when I came across add-victor. My initial consultations were with Sam. Sam communicated with me in such a way that from our first conversation my interest in this new world continued to grow. The amount of doors that Sam and Steve have been able to open for me has been incredible and for that I cannot thank them enough. I believe my biggest strength in making the most of those opportunities was being able to view them as performances. I called on the skills I had developed in the sporting world and used them in every meeting or interview I had. I prepared well, I concentrated on key areas, I set myself targets for each meeting. All of these components allowed me to feel more comfortable and familiar in what seemed like a very unfamiliar environment. As a result, 10 weeks after retirement, I have accepted a fantastic offer from Santander and can’t wait to get started.
For a lot of athletes it can be very scary when the time comes to stop competing. There is no set formula for making this decision which is one of the reasons why it is such a difficult time. For me it was no different. I wrestled with my emotions and feelings for such a long period before making a definitive decision. There is no question that I had and still have moments of fear, sadness and a whole variety of conflicting emotions. I find it important to recognise that this is completely normal and given the time I took to consider my decision I therefore find that a great reason to have enormous trust in myself. And in add-victor I found people who have helped clarify in my own mind that I made the right decision at the right time.
Closing the door on tennis, an emotional struggle – Jamie Baker