By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda’s lone professional tennis player, Jody Maginley, is hoping to compete in his first tournament in over a year when he appears at the M15 Naples, Florida Tournament, starting on February 14.
Maginley, in an interview with Observer media, said he recently resumed training after successfully recovering from hip surgery which he underwent in 2021. The player sustained the potentially career-ending injury while playing at Future Tour event in Vegas the previous year.
“I’ve actually never spent this much time away from tennis, so even though I was still around the courts and helping out with a little bit of coaching last year, it was difficult because it took me a while to get back into, not necessarily athletic shape, but more like match shape, because playing under pressure is a different story. I actually played a few matches towards the end of last year and was inconsistent because I played some really good matches and some not so good matches, so even though I am healthy and my body is feeling good, it’s going to take me some time to get back in the matches to the level that I know I can play at,” he said.
The player, who is currently ranked 1275 in singles and 679 in doubles by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), said that although he is anticipating a return to competitive play, his aim is to take it slowly and gradually rebuild his momentum.
“What I have been working on a lot is to just not have expectations, I just try to control what I can control, and so even though I have set goals and those sort of things with my coach, I just really try to go in and flush out all the expectations and just take it day by day. It’s hard to put any expectations, so it’s just to commit to play the way I have been, practicing and working hard and fighting hard physically and mentally. So that’s pretty much the only two expectations I would put on myself,” he said.
Maginley, admitting it has been a tough recovery from both a physical and mental standpoint, said he was able to push through because of the assistance and support he received from family, friends and sponsors.
“I think towards the end of 2019 I was around my career-high and then obviously we ended the year. I did my pre-season and I had just started back in 2020 when Covid happened. So, maybe I was two months out my career high with a bit of momentum so it was definitely tough to get a pause the way it did and then after Covid having to be out for so long with the surgery was tough,” he said.
“I have been lucky to have been supported by different companies back home and also by tennis Antigua and the NOC and they did a lot for me. I would have never been able to afford the surgery on my own because it was obviously a lot of money and I didn’t have health insurance at the time, so it was expensive for me,” he added.
The Antiguan has achieved a career high ATP singles ranking of 1021 along with a career high ATP doubles ranking of 509, both of which were achieved in 2019. Maginley is the only tennis player from Antigua and Barbuda to have an ATP ranking.