US-based tennis ace, Breana Stampfli is abiding by Miami’s “stay at home” order issued by mayor Francis Suarez in a message to citizens on Tuesday night.
Stampfli, a multiple national Girls/Women’s Singles champion, has been plying her competitive and coaching trade in the American city for over six years and is now confined to her home due to the spread of covid19.
Since her departure from TT in 2014, the 26-year old represented Florida Gulf Coast University for four years in competitive tennis. While there, she also earned a degree in resort and hospitality.
The talented athlete then moved to Miami where she continued pursuit of her main goal, professional tennis. Due to the unavailability of a full-time sponsor, the TT player is coaching tennis while extending her training away from home.
However, amidst the coronavirus pandemic and increased restrictions being implemented by governments worldwide, the experienced player maintains her stance on strict social-distancing.
“Right now, it’s crazy in Miami,” she said. “You know I’m here alone, no family, which is scary. But I’m a big girl so I’ve been coping. I do have my friends here for me.
“I think it’s a very serious thing and I’m taking this virus very seriously because I know that there are people out there that may not survive. I am staying home!!! And I think everyone else should.”
Due to the outbreak, Miami’s mayor issued an emergency order instructing more than 460,000 residents to remain in their homes except when shopping, exercising and taking other trips to jobs and other placed already exempted from widespread closure orders from the covid19 crisis.
Since the outbreak, the St. Joseph’s Convent Port-of-Spain graduate has somewhat self-quarantined by restricting her time outdoors and utilising her home as the safest place to be during the pandemic.
“Well, I stocked up on a lot of food. I’m working out in my neighbourhood with no people around really and I’m with my room-mate, who’s my best friend,” she stated.
When asked if she preferred to be at home with her family in TT during this time and amidst the recently implemented travel restrictions handed down by Minister of National Security Stuart Young, Stampfli was stern in her response.
“Yes, I always want to be with my family but I stayed here because I did not want to travel and I was working and training up here till last week. I also did not want to travel to my family and bring them something (virus) as my granny is very old also so I prefer to stay up here and keep my distance. I’m a bit scared but I’m staying home as much as I can so hoping it passes fast.”
Though unsure when she would be returning to work and/or her full training regime, the multiple national champion admitted it’s sometimes tough juggling both tasks. But, Stampfli insists she must strike the right balance to maintain consistency.
“I enjoy it (coaching) because I get to do what I love. However, it is hard to balance training with my work because work can get in between my training. But, I try not to make that happen. Also to make my training happen, I need money,” she said from her US base on Wednesday.
The seasoned athlete, who powered her way through the junior rankings in previous years, has won at least four national Singles titles, competed in multiple International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior and senior tourneys, captured the regular-season championship in college and most recently, earned a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)/ITF ranking after competing in TT in 2019.
She also credits her fourth-place finish at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games as one of her most memorable moments, competing against Puerto Rican Olympic gold medallist, Monica Puig.
“Reaching the semi-finals of the CAC Games and playing against Monica Puig, an Olympic gold medallist, this definitely showed me I’m able to compete at a high level.
“My main goal is to play professionally and get as high in the ranking as possible. If you never try, you will never know. This year my goal was to compete and aim for the top 400 WTA and keep going from there,” she added.
However, Stampfli revealed that she got injured during competition in TT last year and was then off circuit for approximately two months. Since these local WTA/ITF accredited tourneys, she was unable to give it her all.
Having recovered, she is not deterred and remains persistent to elevating her current WTA ranking. Her highest rank was 636th. She now sits at 665th. This shoulder injury also affected her performance for TT at the 2019 Fed Cup.
“I’m not going to let that (injury) bring me down. I still have my goals and I will train to make them happen. I think my biggest challenge of playing professionally is finances. The challenges with work is that it’s up and down with regards to how busy it is and I am part-time, so I am able to train at the same time. I’ve learned that eventually, I have to pick whether I’ll be a full-time work or full-time tennis pro but I have not made that choice as yet,” she concluded.