Juan Manuel Benitez’s sincerity changed his life and served as a springboard for his tennis goals. When he was at Baylor University on the professional stage, he had to get a job to support himself in a country that was not his. At the same time, he fulfilled his greatest passion for white sports.
“During my time at Baylor, I only played one season reaching the top five in the ITA NCAA D1 singles rankings.”says proudly.
However, since he was holding a student visa, he violated this condition, which caused him a lot of trouble. Before the US authorities he had to give accounts and always “the truth on the table”. By not denying that he was working, they gave him three days to leave the country and thus avoid deportation or arrest.
“I made a lot of efforts even to master my English, I wanted to get a job because I was going to university for 55 thousand dollars a year, I even got a loan from a bank that I had to repay in order to quickly return to Colombia and not lose for 10 years the possibility of getting visa”says SEMANA.
He returned to Medellin at the age of 19. In youth tennis, he won world career titles in Buenos Aires, Cordoba (Argentina), Lima (Peru) and Santa Cruz (Bolivia), results that propelled him to 244th place in the Tropical Ranking. He jumped to the ATP Tour, reaching the semi-finals of Villa Allende, Argentina, and box 822 in the professional standings. At that time, he was considered the natural heir of Alejandro Gonzalez.
As if God has singing fair play From life, in a championship in his hometown, he beat one of his great opponents, Frenchman Jean-Luc Fontanot in the future of the ITF.
This Frenchman not only bravely accepted defeat, but also asked Juan Manuel to train with him. After a while and because he fully complied with the rules that he once violated, he again got a US tourist visa and in Florida.
This hub who started playing tennis at the age of four and with the support of his parents had the opportunity to improve his technique at an academy in Argentina, is back stronger than ever. He made it to his first final in New York and those who once turned their backs on him and left his hand to try to make a living while he was at the academy called him again.
Matt Knoll, a tennis coach at Baylor, promised him that if he played at that institution for most of 2016 and 2017, it would help him get major sponsorships and cover the expenses involved in his tennis career. Juan Manuel gave in, but according to him, Kanoll never complied. To save himself from the responsibility he took on and pressure to renew him, he told him he wasn’t good enough to play professional unless he played with him for another year.
With a new disappointment in his life, he requested a residence with his friends in North America until one of them’s father offered to work with him in exchange for food and lodging. He had to tear down walls, ceilings and even sweepers.
After many comings and goings and efforts, Juan Manuel has played 15 professional tournaments and reached the top 600 in tennis with full seasons playing between 30 and 35 tournaments per year. It is currently number 900 in the ATP ranking.
As if the battles he fought were not enough, he needs money to fulfill the dream of being among the top 100 in the world and that’s why he is raising money through a virtual donation campaign.
“Now that I have finally completed my undergraduate studies at Baylor University, I will be dedicating myself entirely to my professional tennis career. To reach my full potential, I need the financial means to pay for an entire season to play tournaments where the main expenses are hotels and flights. With your help, I am confident that I will achieve my goals.” He says in the campaign that he heads it on Gofundme.
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