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Myrthe Molenveld - “Paddle Changed My Life.”
November 15, 2017
Myrthe Molenveld is coming into her own on the paddle court. In her third year competing on the APTA circuit, Molenveld recently won the Connecticut Classic NRT/Viking PCQ with Kerri Delmonico, following fifth place and semifinal finishes with Liz Jaffe at the Grand Prix tournaments in Pittsburgh and Chicago. Molenveld also holds a #7 national ranking with injured regular partner Keri Flynn.
A native of the Netherlands, Molenveld is currently a tennis and paddle professional at the Field Club of Greenwich and lives in Stamford, CT. A Dutch newspaper recently wrote about how paddle changed her life in the United States. Here is the article, along with a translation for all of you non-Dutch speakers.
Myrthe Molenveld still a top tennis player in the United States.
“It feels like before, after a loss I am disappointed for an entire day”
Myrthe Molenveld is gaining ground with American paddle tennis. Winning is still special. “And losing still sucks.”
Almost eleven years ago, the then-seventeen-year-old tennis player Myrthe Molenveld left her local tennis club TCH to go to America to follow her athletic dreams. Playing tennis has been her passion, and the successful national tennis player from Haaksbergen wanted to go to the land with endless opportunities.
However, in America, her tennis career came in the shadow of her studies at Auburn University. Molenveld let go of her athletic ambitions, to start a business career. Yet, that changed back completely to tennis, to be precise: paddle tennis.
“It is a game that has been around for many years in America,” she said. “After a slower period, this sport is extremely popular. You play in a small court, with a fence around it. At first sight it looks like padel tennis, a popular sport in the Netherlands, but you cannot compare the two sports. It is an interesting thing, to see many amazing tennis players making the transition to playing paddle tennis.”
Molenveld has been traveling all over the country to play tournaments, but her home base is in Stamford, Connecticut. Last weekend, she and her partner made it to the semifinals at a strong tournament in Chicago.
In her regular day-to-day life, Molenveld has been teaching tennis and paddle tennis for about four years at the local Field Club of Greenwich. “Besides teaching, I have plenty of opportunities to practice myself. Because of my job, I discovered paddle tennis. And it is super fun to play.”
The original plan was to come to America for just two years. But Molenveld started to get used to the American lifestyle, and started to love her life there.
It was a bit difficult to stay in the country due to visa reasons, but by going back to school at the University of South Alabama, that problem was solved.
I went there to study a Masters in Health and Physical Education. Now over 10 years later, and my life is established here. I work at a beautiful club, and I really enjoy my environment. That I found a new passion that gives me the desire to win at age 28, gives a whole new dimension to my life here. It feels like before—after a loss I am disappointed for an entire day. That of course was a different type of pressure, but still. I wasn’t crazy talented, but a youth player with an enormous drive. And that apparently has never left me.”
Although she misses her family, Molenveld says that she is not homesick to go back to Haaksbergen or the old stomping grounds in Twente. Her parents, Alex and Annette, visit their daughter every year. “Around Christmas I usually visit them. And after all, I call my mom every morning. Short. Just to hear each other’s voice.”
Photo caption: “Due to my work I discovered paddle tennis. It is super fun to play.”