Interview with Hernan Chousa Author of My Son The Tennis Player

Hernan Chousa

Photo courtesy of Hernan Chousa

Tennis Parenting is not the easiest role in the tennis world, and it’s tough on tennis juniors, too, but help is at hand. The Tennis Review talked to ex ATP pro Hernan Chousa about his book My Son the Tennis Player and asked him his thoughts on the complicated world of tennis parenting.

What is your book about?
My book is a Tennis Parents’ Guide. It’s a very difficult role to play in the tennis game and there isn’t much information about how to behave, so I found it interesting writing something about the topic. It isn’t a to-do list- the book approaches the issue in an humorous way presenting different parent, player and coach types. For sure, My Son the Tennis Player features some tips, too, but they are very reader-friendly, mixed with drawings and other stuff.

When you were a junior, what were your parents like?
When I was young my father was really a problem, always behind me, asking questions like “Who did you practice with?” He wanted to get involved in all the details. When I was 15, I didn’t allow him to watch me playing anymore. My mom was the opposite. She never spoke and was beside the court in silence. Tennis was the issue at dinner time and that was a big mistake, I have a sister that played another sport and she was never part of the conversation. Tennis is one of those things that turns into a virus easily.

What do you wish you had been taught as a Junior to help you with life on the pro tour?
I think that tennis is getting difficult for the young players. There are many old players still playing and playing really well. With that in mind, I think College tennis is a great step for a pro career. Kids spend time in a good environment between the ages of 18-22, and then they can step onto the tour. I know it is nice being a Del Potro or Federer, but chances are that only 1 in 16.000 can make a living from sports so it is better to be prepared for life.

What kind of tennis parent are you?
I think that I got better with time. Maybe because I am an ex ATP player you may think that I didn’t make mistakes- in fact I did, and a lot!!!

When my son was 15 he quit tennis, and I felt very good because his tennis was very heavy for me, and during that time I wrote the book. At 17 he got involved in tennis again seeking a tennis scholarship and now I am a very different parent that I was in his first tennis stage. For example I don’t go to his practices. In the past I was there analyzing each stroke and talking to coaches- for sure I did things wrong and nobody gave me any advice. Parents think they are “Healthy” when in fact tennis is a permanent disease that has to be controlled.

What do you like most about helping tennis parents?
I will tell you a story. After I launched the book, I had a radio Interview. The program had a large audience. It was during the afternoon so I told my wife to listen. At that time she was on a charter van home from work. She asked the driver to turn on the radio. It so happened that he had a 10 year old child playing soccer at a club. The interview lasted 20 minutes- we talked about the book and about professional tennis too. Next morning my wife took the van again to go to her work and the first thing the driver said to her was: “After hearing your husband yesterday I went home and told my kid that I will never ever watch him during his practices, You know what my kid said?, He said THANK YOU!!!!!”

That is what I like most- when you can help a kid. I am not helping parents, I am helping kids from parents.

Check out Hernan’s blog about tennis parenting here:  My Son the Tennis Player

Buy Hernan Chousa’s book here 

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.

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