Dutch Brouwer Gijs he was born in Houston, where his parents lived for 10 years. Her father, Idso, worked for companies in the American city. But Idso and his wife, Jolanda, decided to move home to the Netherlands just a couple of months after Gijs was born.
From a bustling city, they moved to Hoogkarspel, where they lived in a house on a canal.
“Very small, very local. Not many people dream of big things,” Brouwer told ATPTour.com. “Just people who are a little mean, who live in their small town.”
Brouwer does not fit that description. The 27-year-old is traveling the world competing against the best tennis players in the world.
His journey in the sport began when he was watching the australian open on TV when I was a kid. His parents had no tennis experience, but they enjoyed watching the sport, and Brouwer took notice. The left-hander told his parents that he wanted to try tennis, so they took him to a local tennis club.
“They just handed me over to the teacher and said, ‘Hey, entertain this kid and let’s see if he likes it,’” Brouwer recalled. “I do remember some vague memories of my beginnings at the club. Just me hitting the ball with a group of eight little kids who are really getting started on artificial turf.
“My parents told me that I immediately liked it and that I wanted to continue playing a couple of times a week, maybe twice a week because I had lessons.”
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Brouwer also did gymnastics and percussion until he was 12 years old. But from then on, he focused on tennis. The Dutchman said he was “decent” for his age in the Netherlands, but he didn’t take notable honors at international level as a junior, so he couldn’t compare himself to the best players in his age group at the world. He stayed at the school until he was 19 years old.
The moment things changed was when Brouwer won the national championship in the Netherlands at the age of 17.
“That’s when I started playing a little better and really enjoying it and not really liking what I was doing in school,” said Brouwer, who studied sports marketing and communications. “I studied for a year at university in the Netherlands. But I didn’t really like the themes and themes. So I decided well, I’m going to aim high and go for the professional life of tennis and I ended up here.
Brouwer’s biggest breakthrough came last year in Houston, where he was born. The left-hander reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier in his qualifying and main draw debut on the ATP Tour. From No. 361 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, he jumped into the Top 300 in a week and has been on the rise ever since.
The Dutchman has just qualified for Wimbledon for the first time and challenged former world No. 2 Alexander Zverev in the first round. The German triumphed in straight sets, but needed two tie-breaks.
“Of course it was amazing. It was a close game, I played very well. It was just amazing. That’s what I’ve been working for all these years,” Brouwer said. “Being on a big court in Wimbledon it was very, very nice.”
“It’s showing that I’m on the right track, at least that I’m doing what I wanted to do all these years. [and] that I am able to really compete with the guys in the Top 100,” Brouwer said. “That’s where I see one of my big goals, to get to the Top 100.”
To achieve that goal, he is focusing game by game and blocking the rest. In the end, the battle is between him and his opponent on the other side of the net. That’s the favorite part of the sport about him.
“If you win, it’s all you. If you lose, you’re all yours,” Brouwer said. “There’s really no one else who can do it for you.”