Raymond and Osterloh article on transition from college to WTA Tour
No longer fun and games
Raymond knows all about Osterloh's difficult transition
© Jacksonville.com, published Wednesday, April 8, 1998
By Laurie Casaday
AMELIA ISLAND - The transition from college to the real world isn't easy. But when the real world is the WTA Tour, the transition can be a little harder.
After winning the 1997 NCAA singles title for Stanford in her freshman year, Lilia Osterloh turned pro in August and entered her first tournament - the U.S. Open.
There, she stunned everyone and made it to the third round. It was a great start to her professional career, and great things were expected from Osterloh, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, and turned 20 yesterday.
''There was a lot of pressure on me in the beginning. Everyone expected me to do well,'' said Osterloh, who is half German and half Filipino. ''I'm expecting me to do well because I won the singles and got to the third round of the U.S. Open.''
But the transition is tougher than that one tournament indicated. Osterloh knows that, and so does Lisa Raymond, who won the NCAA singles title in 1992 and 1993 for the University of Florida and left Gainesville after that to pursue her professional career.
Like Osterloh, great things were expected from Raymond, who is from Pennsylvania.
''When I didn't live up to that top-10 ranking my first year, it was very tough for me to live with that, and I really put even more pressure on myself trying to live up to what all these people were saying about me,'' Raymond said. ''My game has taken me four years to develop out there. It has taken me that long to really get adjusted to this lifestyle.''
Raymond left Florida believing she had done everything she wanted to do in collegiate tennis.
''The reason I didn't turn pro at 17 or 18 was the maturity. I felt I needed those two years to really kind of grow up,'' she said.
That maturity helped her adjust to the nomadic lifestyle of the tour.
''It's tough out here. It's tough times, living out of suitcases 30 weeks a year,'' she said.
It's also tough adjusting to being the best player in college to just another good player on the WTA Tour. After nearly five years, Raymond is just now feeling like she can play with the best. Her results show it.
She has played in five tournaments since January, making it to the quarterfinals in three of them and to the semifinals at last week's Family Circle Cup. She was one of five players to have beaten No. 1-ranked Martina Hingis last year. She also had wins over Jana Novotna, Amanda Coetzer and Irina Spirlea.
''I honestly think even though I had a lot of really good results at the beginning, it's just, really, in the past year that I've come into my own and found my little niche on the tour,'' she said. ''It's tough.''
That's something Osterloh is learning now, but she feels like she has the tools to succeed.
''My potential speaks for itself,'' Osterloh said. ''I have a complete game. I have all the shots. I have all the intangibles.''
The only thing Osterloh may lack - and it will come in time - is mental toughness. That's something Raymond relied upon yesterday in beating Marion Maruska 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
''Being down a break in the second and a set down and just hanging in there, knowing you can do it and believing in myself,'' Raymond said. ''That was important to me at the end of last year when I had a good run and I beat a lot of top players. I really believed in myself.''
But I know I have a fickle heart
and a bitterness
and a wandering eye
and a heaviness in my head