Wednesday, May 18

Chasing the big dream: – Having some trouble being happy with myself

– No. For many years I have imagined myself standing there. It’s a clear picture that I visualize every single day. It is not relevant to think that it does not work. I have no plan B.

Malene Helgø answers the question if she has ever considered the idea that the dream can be missed.

The offensive 22-year-old is ready. The dream is initially to climb a hundred places to become one of the 250 best tennis players in the world. That way, she will have the opportunity to qualify for the biggest stages, which are the Grand Slam tournaments. Belief in herself also makes her dream a little.

– The goal for this year is to end up among the top 250. But the most important goal further is to become the top 100 to get on the main table in the Grand Slam tournaments. It does not have to be long. It can happen this year, she says with a determined look.

TV 2 meets the tennis player from Lørenskog in Oslo Tennisarena where she charges up for the 2022 season.

She says that she started playing tennis when she was eight years old with her father and big sister in Lørenskog. When she was twelve years old, the family changed clubs to Furuset in Oslo due to a lack of tennis players in Lørenskog. Then came the real start of his tennis career.

Financial challenges

Eventually she managed to rise to the top in the junior class. She then spent part of the year at Wilson Tennis Academy in Belgium. In addition to being based in Oslo, where she has received help from the Norwegian Tennis Association for the initiative.

– It has gone pretty fast. I have worked well in the pandemic and last year I climbed over 200 places on the ranking. But I have mostly done it alone, says Helgø.

She tells herself that she has a burning passion for tennis. She wants to be able to make a living from sports. It has partly been with the help of sponsors until now, but mostly she has had to travel alone. She has no funding for more.

She describes the trips to Belgium as very useful for her career in that she comes to the set table. There is the experienced coach and several players. However, it is not only positive with these trips.

– The downside is that I am away from family and friends. It is lonely to train hard and not come home to family or to be able to meet friends. It’s mentally tough at times when I can not afford to have someone with me.

– I’m a perfectionist

Despite her loneliness, she is driven by the tennis dream. After climbing over 200 places in 2021, she believes that something similar can happen in 2022.

That with the help of “quality over quantity” in everything she does. Both when it comes to physical training and mental training.

– I do not believe in training a lot without goals and meaning. I always have to have a goal for every single session. I ask myself during workouts. “Why am I doing this?”, “What does it take to get better at this?”. It is important to understand why you do things. Then I think you get more effect from what you do, she says and adds:

SERVE: Malene Helgø has recently worked a lot with serve. She thinks this can help her a lot in the pursuit of the big goals. Photo: Pål Martin Rossing / TV 2.

SERVE: Malene Helgø has recently worked a lot with serve.  She thinks this can help her a lot in the pursuit of the big goals.  Photo: Pål Martin Rossing / TV 2.

SERVE: Malene Helgø has recently worked a lot with serve. She thinks this can help her a lot in the pursuit of the big goals. Photo: Pål Martin Rossing / TV 2.

– I am a perfectionist who makes me care about the small details. I hate not getting things done right away, so I work until I get it done.

– Doesn’t it get tiring at times?

– It’s my best friend, but it can also be my worst enemy. I have a little trouble me being happy with myself. I often think I can do things a little better.

– She has everything required

One who is happy with Malene Helgø is national team coach in the Norwegian Tennis Association, Fredrik Lovén. The Swede himself says that he has worked a lot with Helgø since the beginning of 2020. He describes the 22-year-old as a very professional athlete.

– She does everything she can best and very carefully. It is a very good property. In terms of strokes, she is doing well. There are really no big holes in her tennis. But everything can of course be developed and done better, says Lovén.

He is aware that many pieces will have to be in place to enter the Grand Slam tournaments. He points out that very many are fighting for the same thing.

– But she has everything required to manage it. She has to work every day to develop. I know she’s ready for that. I see no obstacles. But it can take time. It is not known whether this will happen within six months or two years. In terms of play, there is not much difference in her level, but it is about performing over time, week after week.

He describes Helgø’s focus on detail as «wonderful» and «tough». Next Friday, Helgø travels to Mexico to fight for good results in two 25,000 dollar tournaments and two WTA 250 tournaments. Lovén is aware that experience in WTA tournaments such as 250 can help a lot.

Helgø sees it in the same way. Not only does she have better opponents, but she also gets trained with better players.

– Do you want to say you are happy with your career if you manage to reach a Grand Slam tournament?

-No no. I’ll have more. My goal is to become number one on the WTA rankings. I think you have to set yourself hairy goals if you want to go far, Helgø answers in cash.

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