Serving up a Storm
UC student Storm Sanders is conquering university studies and life on the professional tennis circuit.
Storm lives out of a suitcase for most of the year, such is the life of a professional tennis player on the circuit full-time.
On average she spends up to 40 weeks away from home each year, something that has the potential makings of a singular lifestyle.
“It can be reasonably tough at times,” says Storm, who adds studying a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree at the University of Canberra helps provide balance.
From an early age she has learned to juggle the disparate worlds of tennis and study.
Prior to university, Storm’s final two years of high school was through distance education, because of the time dedicated to the junior tennis tour.
Displaying an ability to multi-task in the final two years of schooling, Storm then took this ability to a new level with university studies.
“I started at UC when I was 18,” she recalls, “And I was originally studying part time.”
A shoulder injury in 2018 kept her off the circuit for the entire year, but rather than focus on the negatives, Storm turned the experience into a positive.
“While I was injured last year I was able to concentrate on studying and moved to full-time.”
It hasn’t been without its challenges though, with having regained her fitness and strength, Storm is aiming to reclaim her ranking position.
For now, Storm continues to travel almost every week of the year, and while some would struggle to stay ahead of their studies, Storm manages to make sure she’s on top of all her assessments and uni work.
“If I have a practice day, I prioritise my studies,” says Storm.
I have to be extremely organised. Even if I'm tired I need to commit to some study so it doesn't get too much for me.
Storm’s highest singles ranking was 202 in the world in 2014, but this year, her focus has been on doubles.
Storm and her playing partner, Arina Rodionova, won two tournaments during this year’s European Clay Court season, before being eliminated in the first rounds at both the French Open and Wimbledon.
A snapshot of her life on the professional tennis circuit demonstrates her determination. She is currently home for 10 days after being on tour for three months in Europe. But next week she’s back on the road and flies to America.
A $10,000 scholarship, provided by Eldon and Anne Foote Trust, and awarded to 10 UC students, has allowed Storm to return to tennis competition and continue with her studies. “The scholarship has been really helpful particularly because I wasn’t earning last year. It has helped me pay for flights, accommodation and medical costs and it has allowed me study as well as continue to play.”
Storm adds it has been UC’s commitment to backing elite athlete students which has helped her with her studies.
“UC has been great. I wouldn’t have been able to complete this course without the university’s support. The flexibility has enabled me to keep going with both my tennis and my studies.”
While she’s continuing to her rankings rise on the tennis court, the 24-year-old says she is also hoping to graduate this year.