Here's a story about a tennis professional that may just give every aspiring player some hope for the future despite what their current ranking is.
Reda El Amrani is a 28 year old pro tennis player from Morocco and he reached a career high of World number 160 in singles in 2010. He has won 8 singles events and 5 doubles titles in the Futures Series. His prize money is minimal, just over $150, 000 in his career, this year just over a grand. His current ranking defies logic, he's ranked 667.
If you get the chance to look up the highlights of his match with young gun Borna Coric at the current tournament being played in Marrakech, Morocco it is well worth the view as his style is unique to say the least. Drop shots a plenty, a one handed backhand, a sound volley and a great forehand. He is also wearing a knee brace which quite possibly gives away the fact that injury has played a part in his ranking and time away from the game which is obvious if you look at his playing history which can only be described as spasmodic.
I say that his ranking defies logic because of the effort he put in against Coric who has had wins over Murray and Nadal and gained a career high of 33 in singles two years ago. Coric is currently ranked 79 though he has recently dropped twenty something places due to some 'average' results. Those average results have still netted him more this year than El Amrani has won in his entire career however.
For the record Coric won the match 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 ( 7-5 ) but not before El Amrani served for the match at 5-4 in the third.
So how does a guy ranked 667 take it up to someone who has beaten the World's best on more than one occasion ? Your guess is as good as mine but I think self belief has a lot to do with it because El Amrani has been inside the top 200 albeit several years ago but to gain a ranking of that number you need to be of a remarkable quality.
To the naked eye a ranking of 160 seems rather low and it doesn't really give off an aura that says 'this guy is talented' but to reach that number you have to own a game that doesn't own many technical weaknesses, it's a head game when you are top 200.
So where does Reda El Amrani go from here ? Well he's only a 'young fella' and players such as Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic and Mr Federer are 36 and 35 years of age respectively and playing the best tennis of their lives currently. Maybe 28 is considered now more an age to excel rather than retire.
Personally I am looking forward to tracking Reda El Amrani's progress for the rest of this season as guys like him do the sport proud with their determination to still succeed despite age, injury or any other restrictions that were once considered as career limitations or career ending for that matter.
Tennis is a tough sport to make a dollar out of and every player is looking to get inside the Top 100 to guarantee themselves a handy pay day at Grand Slam events which offer a first round 'loser' up to $50,000 for their effort in making the main draw.
Four of those per year and you may just cover your expenses and put a few bucks in the ash tray of your car to cover your fuel to a few smaller events around the country as well. Top 100 though is a tough gig.
Reda El Amrani, good luck Champ, keep swinging.......