Photo by Roberto Kozek
Childhood Dream: Accomplished!
As children, teens, and even as adults, many of us dream of becoming professional athletes. Making the professional ranks in any sport is challenging enough, and very few get to see those dreams turn into reality. For Sweater Crew member Danielle Lao (@thelittlegiant), making Wimbledon in tennis is a sweet accomplishment that only adds fuel to her next goals.
In June 2021, Lao passed through three qualifying rounds to officially earn herself a spot in the pinnacle of tennis: Wimbledon. She became one of 128 women battling it out for the elusive Wimbledon title, the Grand Slam event of all Grand Slam events.
Danielle fought a tightly-contested battle with Katie Boulter in the first round, with Boulter moving on after winning two of three sets. While Lao's Wimbledon run ended earlier than she had hoped, her Wimbledon dream continues as she sets her eyes on the next tournament.
We caught with with Danielle to hear about the experience of competing at Wimbledon.
Photo by Roberto Kozek
SaltStick (SS): Making the pinnacle of any sport is an incredible accomplishment. How did your dreams of competing at Wimbledon compare to the reality of competing at Wimbledon?
Danielle Lao (DL): Being at Wimbledon was everything and more than I ever imagined. Aside from the gorgeous setup and the all around mystic of the place, I remember the crowd applauding when I walked on court. I felt more like a performer starting her act; an artist that entered a stage. It was a real unique feeling to finally play out this dream. I'll never forget it.
SS: What are your next goals? Immediate, long term?
DL: Next goals are to break into the top 100 (ranking wise). It's funny how immediate and long term goals blend together a bit, because one can hit ranking goals by just having one great event. I suppose the immediate / process goal is to prepare for the hard court swing in America. It's going to be hot, so I want to focus on being in good tennis form and physical shape for that.
SS: How did SaltStick fit into your training and matches?
DL: I always incorporate a Saltstick Cap Plus before my match starts. It's become a routine thing to do. Since I was in cooler weather in the UK, I'd estimate to take one every hour.
SS: Any advice for an athlete who wants to reach the top of their sport?
DL: Trust your work even though the results may not show and take ownership of the environment you create for yourself.
Thanks, Danielle! Can't wait to see you at the next Grand Slam event!