By Julia Elbaba, Tennis Professional
Hey Guys! My name is Julia Elbaba, you can call me Jules. I am a professional tennis player from Long Island. I finished a large chapter of my life graduating from the University of Virginia in 2016. I was a student-athlete on the women’s tennis team and graduated with a degree in media.
Playing on the women’s tennis team was one of the best experiences of my life. It was really cool being able to play tennis for something larger than myself; a team, coaches, fans, an institution! I am really fortunate that I had coaches and teammates that believed and supported me. I was able to reach the No. 1 national ranking in singles for Division I tennis and became a Singles National Champion in 2014. It was an honor and privilege to be a Wahoo in Charlottesville, VA.
After graduation, I decided that I wanted to chase fuzzy, yellow, tennis balls worldwide and pursue my dreams of touring around the world as a pro. As a girl that was born and raised in New York, let me tell you, there is something about the air out here that makes sleep useless!
As a professional tennis player, I have some downtime between practices and tournaments. I will start by saying that my mind rarely rests as ideas are always flowing. My imagination and creativity leave me brainstorming 24/7. So what better way to outlet my ideas and feelings than expressing myself in a blog? So here I am!
Unfortunately, a few months ago, I found out that I had torn my UCL ligament in my right elbow. I was playing with a lot of pain for a few months, but it was diagnosed only as inflammation for a while. It finally got to a point where the pain was intolerable, and I needed to see a doctor that specialized in elbows. It turned out that I had a baseball pitchers-type injury, that is oftentimes resolved with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections or Tommy John Surgery. I definitely wanted to take a more conservative route and see if the PRP could help me in conjunction with Physical Therapy (PT). It was going to be a series of three painful and expensive shots (unfortunately PRP isn’t covered by insurance since it is considered experimental). It was a risk I decided with my parents was worth taking.
Four months later, here I am – healing! The PRP had a positive effect on my elbow and with PT, I am getting better. It is a slow journey back to the tennis court, but I know I will be competing in no time. I am focusing on having a positive mindset and worrying about the things in my life that I can control. I am seeing this more as a challenge rather than a setback.
Since my injury, I have been pursuing the media side of tennis. I started my own podcast called, “Jules on the Hustle,” which is featured on both Apple and Spotify. I have been doing some commentary at professional tennis matches and most recently, I was a writer for the U.S. Open official website.
Since I started reporting, I feel like my tennis IQ has gone up and I am convinced that it will make me a better competitor and player when I do return to the sport I love most, both mentally and physically. I am really excited to share some tennis stories, my journey, advice, and special techniques with you guys through this blog!
P.S. Feel free to reach me in my DMs or comment on this blog if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear them all!
This is the first blog of a new series highlighting various tennis players throughout the United States. Each blog will feature stories, experiences, or techniques these players are willing to share with the GAMMA audience.