Tennis – Chasing the Dream
Hi, My name is Jacqueline Cako and I’m trying to reach my dreams of becoming the best in the world in tennis. It has been a long and difficult journey which has taken a lot of hard work, time and money. I have been competing on the professional tour for two years now and I’ve had both highs and lows. I want to make some changes for 2016 and in doing so I plan to have the best year of my life both on and off the court. Before I go into my plans, here’s a little about me and where I come from…
I grew up in a small city north of Seattle, called Brier. I started out as a gymnast with dreams of making it to the Olympics, but those dreams were squashed as I began to grow (I’m 5’10”)! When I was 8 my mom signed me up for tennis because one of my friends from school was taking lessons. I fell in love with tennis shortly after and started competing in tournaments when I was 11.
By the time I was 16 I was ranked #1 in the Pacific Northwest and #3 in the nation in the 18 & under division. My mom would take me to tournaments when I was younger and when I was 16 I started traveling more on my own. I began going to international junior events in the U.S. and made it up to 64 in the world. I played in the junior U.S. Open twice, but unfortunately wasn’t able to play the other grand slams because my parents couldn’t afford to send me abroad. So, I stayed in the states and played small professional tournaments winning my first when I was 17, and again at 18. During that time I signed with Arizona State University because a good education is something I value dearly however, I still had high hopes to make it professionally so I decided to play one year on tour before going to college. I had a deal with my parents that if I made it to top 200 that I could turn pro, otherwise I would go to college before pursuing my professional career. At the end of that year I was ranked 369 in the world so I went to college.
I maximized the amount of credits I was taking at the Barrett Honors College in order to graduate in 3 years with a degree in Biology. As soon as I graduated I turned pro and started playing a full schedule. I started out well mainly in doubles and played tournaments in the U.S. since they were more cost effective. I am able to get housing pretty much every week, and I have ways of getting cheap flights using southwest so that has saved me a lot of money. I have had to be very savvy in order to make ends meet, since my parents haven’t been able to help since college.
After two years my ranking and game has stayed fairly consistent so I’m trying to make some changes moving forward. Currently, I am ranked #425 in singles and # 215 in doubles which is good but I know I can do better. I recently started traveling and training with a coach and it has really helped me stay sharp and motivated. I’m starting so see big improvements in my tennis and am very hopeful about the future.
My best results of the year came recently where I qualified and won rounds in the last three tournaments of the year. My ranking jumped 100 spots and I got my first top hundred win along the way. I know that I can compete at the highest level and traveling with a coach is an important part of reaching and maintaining that level. My goal is to reach the top 100 in the world. Here I can compete in Wimbledon and all the Grand Slams and I would be able to earn my living from tennis. To play in the qualifying of Grand Slams I need to be ranked in the top 200 which I aim to do in the next 12 months. I’m trying to raise the money in order to be able to cover expenses for myself and a coach for the 2016 season. I know that with the proper approach and hopefully support from you I will continue to rise in the rankings and reach my goals. Please help me to achieve my dreams.
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