Name: Beti Sekulovski
Nickname: Boo, Beti boo
Home State: Victoria
Playing Period: 2000 – 2007
BTT: What are you up to these days Beti?
BS: Hi Sarah, I’m currently back home in Melbourne with my family trying to stay fit and on top of my rehab as I had an L5 S1 Fusion in November, so I am trying to keep on top of that. Upskilling my lack of cooking ability and I also like creative arts, so it is giving me some time to enjoy my hobbies.
BTT: There are many funny and memorable moments on tour tell us the first one that comes to your mind?
BS: Memorable moments I have too many and a lot of them involve you, my friend. I remember my 2nd year travelling on tour, and I happen to be in the Netherlands awaiting a train with a few of the other Aussie girls. The train arrived, and I was in such a rush to get on the train that I boarded the train, but I had forgotten to grab my luggage leaving it on the platform whilst the train departed. I wasn’t laughing at the time but geeez looking back it does bring a smile to my face, and I’m still talking about it today.
Funniest moments was probably the amount of karaoke I performed around the world.
BTT: What are some of the moments of achievements you are most proud of when you look back at your playing career?
BS: What I am most proud of is the love and passion I had for the game and being able to enjoy it for as long as I did. I would have my ups and downs like anybody else, but I did pride myself on working hard towards my goals. I’m also proud that despite good or bad results I did endure three surgeries fractures along the way and I am proud of the resilience I showed during these times to keep coming back and wanting to play even when I was financially struggling.
BTT: Reflecting on your pro tennis career, what are the takeaways from it, and how did it prepare you for life beyond?
BS: My key takeaways from my Pro Career were the following:
- That less is more
- Striving for perfection is not attainable, but controlling what you can control on a daily basis is
- Trusting and believing in yourself is sometimes all the approval and belief you need
- Being unique is a true weapon
- Leave your ego at the door
I think to move into the coaching sector really opened up my eyes to the strengths and weaknesses I had personally. It made me confront those aspects and forced me to change and adapt. When your playing you’re doing it for yourself generally speaking and everyone has a different incentive as to why they do what they do. When you are coaching athletes/athlete, it’s about the person and not about you, so all these things that I had to confront have made me evolve not only personally but professionally. It also assisted me in becoming more adaptable to people in general.
BTT: How long before you officially retired, were you thinking about the end of your career and what was the actual process of quitting like for you?
BS: It was probably about six months. I had previously had two knee surgeries, and the 2nd knee surgery left me with no cartilage and as a result, bone on bone. I remember being 23 years old, and I was actually playing some of the best tennis I had ever played, but I was not able to sustain it due to my body not allowing me to. I had just been selected into the Australian Institute of Sport, and this was going to really assist me financially to travel and get some coaching support on the road more frequently something I had never really experienced very much of before. I played my last match at the Grand Canaria Islands against Monique Adamzack, and the ironic thing was she was the first person I ever played in my First 12/u Nationals. So it was nice to finish my career against someone who was not only a great person, but I had shared a lot of my junior memories with Monique, so it was quite fitting.
I was very relieved at first, but it did leave me with a huge hole, confusion, and uncertainty. I knew it was time for it to finally be over, but I never thought it would end the way it did. It was an upsetting time, and I did have a lot of resentment towards tennis for a while until I found a different purpose.
BTT: In the first few years after retiring, what did things look like and was it a difficult transition for you?
BS: Once I returned to Melbourne, I didn’t have a huge network of friends, and i wasn’t used to being in one place. I quite liked the nomadic lifestyle, or I should say I was just used to picking up and leaving for the next tournament. I found this aspect extremely difficult. There was no routine at first until I got myself involved in coaching in my local area where I loved being on the court and earning a regular income.
It’s never easy to give up something you love doing, especially when that is all you have known for most of your life. Looking back now, connecting with friends again and even making friends from various walks of life gave me perspective, and still being involved in tennis through coaching allowed me to heal and fulfil a more rewarding purpose which was helping others.
BTT: What might have helped you navigate the difficulties of transitioning from a professional tennis player to life off the tour?
BS: Reflecting on this period of time, I think if I had people to sit down with who had gone through this before would have helped a great deal. Finding different resources to tap into that could develop and upskill the strengths/weaknesses that I had would help the transition into regular life away from tennis. It’s a scary time when your left to create your CV, do your taxes and simply live like a regular person day in day out when you haven’t done much of that before. They are simple things in life which I believe a severely neglected or taken for granted.
BTT: What advice would you have for a current player in terms of preparing for life after the tour?
BS: Have a network of people you trust, and you can talk to when you need a bit of advice. I would encourage you to step outside the comfort zone and challenge yourself to reflect on your career and not bury your achievements or the not so memorable moments away. Once you a clear on where you have come from and that you can be at peace with yourself you will allow yourself to make good decisions based on where you are now not where you think you should be.
BTT: When players retire, they often speak about feeling quite isolated – what was that experience like for you?
BS: Yes, that’s very true. I did feel isolated personally, especially when you come back home and everyone you have ever known is still competing on tour.
BTT: What involvement do you still have in the tennis industry? And in the tennis world more generally?
BS: I am currently working for Tennis Australia as the National Academy Coach for girls aged 15-18. I also spend time with a mixture of levels depending on who is in our environment, whether it be in the pro-space or junior space.
BTT: Since retiring, do you ever find time to catch up with old tennis mates?
BS: Yes, I do and have tried to connect with them a lot more over the past few years.
BTT: Would you like to reconnect or have more opportunities to connect with the former player community? How important is this to you?
BS: Yes, I would. I think it is really healthy to reconnect. Many of us (friends I toured with) spent most of our lives dedicated to this wonderful sport, and sadly, a lot are no longer involved in the game. However, I think to create a community for ex-players to gather around and share memories and what they are up to currently is comforting.
BTT: Most athletes have definitive purpose aspiring to be the best they can….with that chapter closed, what would you say your mission is now?
BS: I aspire to support any person/athlete that I spend time with, making sure to nurture, empower and support them every step of the way. I feel I have a responsibility regardless of the level of success is to help these individuals become the best versions of themselves on a day to day basis, because we all know how difficult and challenging this sport and life can be.
Boo, you are one of the greatest people I have ever known. Thanks for the passion you bring to the game and your unbreakable dedication to helping others achieve their very best. It was great to catch up with you and we are proud to welcome you to the IC family
– Your mate Stoney (Sarah Stone IC Committee member)