Reese Stalder is a 25-year-old professional tennis player from Newport Beach, California. He played college tennis at Texas Christian University and graduated in 2019. Reese was an ITA Doubles All-American in 2017 at TCU and was ranked as high as #11 in doubles during his collegiate career. He is currently ranked #147 on the ATP Doubles Tour and has won 9 doubles titles so far in his career.
- At what point of your life was tennis introduced to you and when did you know you wanted to take it seriously?
My mom played at USC and my dad played at the University of California-Irvine and played pro afterward. I grew up around the sport while they practiced. I also have an older sister who played.
- How would you describe your junior tennis career?
I played a bunch of sports up until 8th grade. I never was home-schooled and would train after school. I never played any ITFs but played a lot of sectional tournaments in Southern California. There is a high level there so I would play against a lot of good players. I just stuck to California and had a relatively normal childhood.
- Did your parents ever coach you?
Not really, I was coached primarily by other people. As a child, they taught me a lot about the game. They are definitely more mellow tennis parents. It is nice to have them know what I am going through on the pro tour though and they can give me advice on that.
- What made you decide on TCU and were you looking at any other colleges?
I was looking around at other schools but never seriously considered them. TCU was always my number 1 pick. I wanted a school with good academics and other good sports teams. I love all sports so I enjoyed going to games. The coaches are great and helped me out so much. I loved TCU.
- How did you continue to grow as a player in college? What do you think improved the most from freshman to senior year?
The assistant coach, Devon Bowen helped me so much. He is a beast. I came into TCU lacking professionalism and intensity and he especially really helped me out with being more intentional in practice and treating it more like a job. I think that has helped me out a lot since graduation too.
- What was your most formidable obstacle in college and how did you overcome it?
It was hard going in and out of singles during my freshman year. I did not go to school to sit on the bench but I overcame that and it made me work harder. I was fortunate to have guys like Cam Norrie, Alex Rybakov, and Guillermo Nunez on the team to push me.
- When did you decide you wanted to play professional tennis? Was that always your intention after college?
I had a really good year of doubles my sophomore year. I started to think I could go pro after graduation and was leaning towards going pro after graduation. When I started my senior year I knew I wanted to give it a shot so I started preparing for that.
- You chose a hard time becoming a professional tennis player due to covid. How did you navigate that? What did you do after graduation?
I played for 6 months on tour and then Covid hit. There were not any tournaments for almost a year. Went to the beach and trained a lot. I did not see many people. Tennis-wise, it was tough. This is my first full year playing, from the start to the end of the year. There were not any tournaments until June 2021. I still feel like I am pretty new because this is my first full year playing. It was a weird obstacle to deal with.
- You are ranked 147 in the world in doubles after really only playing 1 full year on tour. Does that give you confidence knowing that you have done that well in a year?
It feels good, I have been able to learn a lot from guys on tour. It gives me confidence in myself but I still have a long way to go. I am in a good spot now and am happy with how I am playing. It feels good to be at that challenger level now and am learning a lot about professionalism from guys at the challenger level. I am trying to learn a little bit from a lot of guys I have played.
- How has it been playing with different partners every tournament? Are you looking for a consistent partner?
I have struggled to find a consistent partner but it’s tricky because teams are well established and guys are always playing different schedules. If I can play a stretch with one guy then that works well but I have enjoyed playing with a bunch of guys.
- What has been the most challenging obstacle you have faced since becoming a professional tennis player?
I love traveling and seeing new countries but travel can be tough because it’s expensive and you spend so much time in airports. It is an unavoidable part of playing professionally. It is tough because you have to figure out where to go and I am not a big fan of airports and flying. The rest of 2022 will be nice because I will be in the U.S or Canada.
- What was going through your head after winning the Santo Domingo final against top 75 guys?
It felt great, I played both of those guys before so that helped mentally knowing what to expect. There were a lot of tough teams in the tournament. Clay is not what I prefer to play on so it helped my confidence in winning a title on that surface. I proved to myself that I could play on clay.
- You are now the volunteer assistant coach at North Carolina, what led you to take on that role? Are you offsetting the costs by being at UNC?
My girlfriend lives there and the coaches asked me to be the volunteer assistant coach so I gladly accepted. The coaches have helped me a lot with coaching and the guys work really hard. It is really nice that I get to practice with them as well. It is a perfect scenario. It is a volunteer job so I do not get paid, but there are some nice incentives to the position.
- What has been your favorite match so far in your professional career?
When I won my first challenger title with Gijs Brouwer in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
- What advice would you give to a junior in college thinking about going pro after graduation?
Be intentional with what you want to work on in practice. Show up to practice and don’t just go through the motions. Have a clear intent of what you want to work on.