Reporter: Each year at this time since 2009, tennis player Chris Jules has been coming to New York City and leaving with the U.S. Open trophy. Jules, who is 33 and among the top tennis practitioners, has no immediate plans to retire. Last August he won the Western Open title and was in the semifinals in Wimbledon in July. In November he was in the London Masters final. In today’s program he’s nterviewed by our sports reporter.
Reporter: Good evening, Chris. Welcome to our program.
Jules: Good evening. Thank you for inviting me!
Reporter: First of all, Chris, how does it feel being a world champion, again?
Jules: Well, I’m great! I’m feeling so much better than I did last year. But hearing you say I’ve been coming to New York since 2009, I can’t believe how old I am. Time really flies. But I’m feeling in great shape.
Reporter: Being a tennis champion means you must do a lot of travelling. How do you manage personal life and competition?
Jules: I love being in the tennis court but I am also happy to go back home in Austria, where I can catch up with friends and family … although my wife and I also love it when it’s time to pack things up and travel abroad. We always see its positive side, even though leaving our kids behind is hard.
Reporter: Tennis is your life and your passion, but has it always been like that? The discipline of practice and the tournaments and championships, don’t you ever feel it’s too much?
Jules: In my early years I had to struggle. There were times when I got bored after 45 minutes of practice; I wasn’t enjoying tennis so much. That must have bee n when I was between 16 and 21 and there were so many of these moments that I nearly gave up. One day I said to my coach, “I’m fed up with this, I want to become professional”. And so I did, and then I started to really enjoy tennis practice. Today I love practice; in fact my favorite time is when nobody’s watching. When there’s a crowd, I feel the pressure of the people watching, taking pictures, analyzing me…. I know it may sound odd, because I also enjoy the competition, and it’s great when people are cheering and celebrating a good serve.
Reporter: You once told me you don’t like being alone. Has that changed?
Jules: Not really.I love having people around. When we’re at home, our house is always open; friends and family come in and out all the time. My wife travels with me most of the times but if she can’t, well, it feels odd not having her with me. I remember when I went to Barcelona by myself last year. I got back to my room after the match and there was nobody there. I felt pretty lonely. My family, my wife and my twin daughters, are really important to me. If we can, we are always together. But, of course, the kids have to go to school; so sometimes that’s not possible.
Reporter: Let’s talk about tennis now. What has been the biggest change in tennis these last 10 years?
Jules: The game has evolved. The way we play tennis today has changed a lot, probably because of racket technology. Maybe it’s not so much fun sometimes as it used to be. Ten years ago tennis players were aggressive in the sense that they would play from the back of the court and also from the front. Nowadays most tennis players play from the back. I prefer the way tennis was played before.
Reporter: But if I ask you what’s the biggest change in YOUR life, what would you say?
Jules: The biggest change for me has probably been social media.
Reporter: You really seem to have taken to it!
Jules: Yeah, but it took me a while. I started with Facebook: downloading a few pictures and making comments. That was my slow introduction into the social network. Then last year it was Twitter. Everybody uses social media differently. I said to myself, “If I am going to do it, I’ll do it my own way!” My idea was to give people the extra insight into tennis nobody else has. Give them something they didn’t know. So I’m not publishing game results or other things that people may learn from the news. I’m giving them my feelings, my thoughts. And I’m glad about it since people say they like what I’m doing. I think it’s been actually quite nice.
Reporter: Apart from tennis, your family and networking, what other things do you enjoy doing?
Jules: In my leisure time, I love meeting up with friends for coffee. And since I live this busy life, when I’m on vacation my favorite place is going to the beach; just listening to the waves on a solitary, quiet beach.
Reporter: What’s one thing you’re really looking forward to when you’re not playing tennis? Other sports, perhaps?
Jules: I had to stop playing other sports because I’m too scared I might get injured. I used to play squash, badminton, basketball and soccer. So maybe I’ll play them again in the future. And of course skiing; can you imagine living in Austria and not skiing?
Reporter: Well, Jules, I’m afraid we’ve run out of time. Thank you very much for your time.
Jules: My pleasure