I've wanted to do a Sam Barry Q&A for a while now and delighted to have him on here. I've known Sam for over 10 years and I've always seen him as poster boy for a pro athlete. He's committed to working hard, has realistic goals set in play, focused, has talent, has a big game and ultimately can mix it up with the big guns. Sam was a top ITF Junior, had a ATP ranking of 255 late in 2016 as well as becoming Irish number 1. He's narrowly missed out on qualifying on all the 4 majors by 1 or 2 places. Its only a matter of time before Sam breaks through his current floor and competes regularly at the big events.
Recently a documentary on Irish TV was shown called "Beyond The Baseline" which followed Sam around the world competing and training. Its not avaialbe online but there is a trailer below. Included at the end of this Q&A is an interesting podcast Sam did with a famous Irish podcast. Its an hour long but well worth the listen, especially if you want to be a top tennis player or want to know whats involved. Sam talks about it in depth.
Here we go.....
What age did you start playing tennis at?
Did any of your parents play tennis?
What was your highest ITF world ranking (under 18)?
What tennis academy did you train at as a junior?
Mouratoglou Tennis Academy / Irish Tennis Federation
Did you go to University?
What age did you decide to go pro?
What was your highest ATP/WTA ranking?
255 Singles / 221 Doubles
If you weren't a pro what do you think you would be doing?
Travelling / Studying
Are you a Km/h or Mp/h person?
(Below is Sam back in 2011 when he was hitting with Nadal at the ATP world Finals)
Whats your biggest weapon on court?
Whats your faster ever serve?
Do you like flying?
Your flying class?
What clothing company are you sponsored by?
What rackets do you use?
(Not many know this but the H22 is a racket Wilson produce for top Pros that is not available to buy. Many Wilson sponsored players use it and they are normally painted in the same designs as their current top selling Wilson rackets such as the blade and burn. These racket normally play nothing like the retail equivalent. 22 stands for the thickness of the frame, 22mm. There is also a 19mm version. Top Head sponsored players also have a similar racket. These rackets are normally lighter than over the counter rackets which allow the pros to customise them to their specific preferences and weight.
Is the racket personalised for you? Do you know the weight?
Yes + Yes
What strings do you use?
Luxilon - Alu Power
What tension are your strings?
Ranging 54-58 lbs
How many rackets do you carry in your bag for a match?
Whats grips do you use?
Are you a sweatband person?
Did you ever use a tournament towel as a gift!?
No (Wait till you hit the Grand Slams Sam!!!)
Do you have a prematch song you like to play to get you in the zone?
No but I like to listen to J.Cole the mornings of matches
None stick out more vividly than others
Mexico - Lunatics
Who was your childhood tennis hero?
Lleyton Hewitt + Tim Henman
Do you prefer Running/Biking/Love Both or Hate Both?
Biking. (While training in the Irish academy Sam used our free Bike workout in his pre-season training, download it here)
What do you do to relax while at tournaments?
FaceTime, Netflix + Podcasts are my go to's
Do you read books?
If so, what is your all time favourite book?
Mindset - Carol Dweck
And what book are you reading now?
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
Whats your all-time favourite movie?
Batman The Dark Knight
What is your favourite quote?
Easy choices, tough life.... tough choices, easy life
Earlier in the year Sam had an interview with a famous Irish Podcast called The Irishman abroad. Sam talks about his early tennis days, his commitment to the game, leaving his family to train in France as well the ups and downs of the life of a professional tennis players. Its a hugely interesting listen that will give you great insight in what it takes to be a pro tennis player.
Thanks for filling out the Q&A Sam. We wish you well for the next few months and look forward to some training vids!!