Far from a tennis fanatic, Australian Open semi-finalist Jennifer Brady says she almost gave up the sport until she realised she wasn’t cut out to be a desk jockey.
The 25-year-old American takes on Czech Karolina Muchova on Thursday afternoon on Rod Laver Arena chasing a place in her first grand slam final.
She reached the same stage at the US Open last year before falling to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in three high-quality sets.
But Brady considered another career path until going to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on a tennis scholarship.
“I didn’t like to study; I didn’t like school and I found that out real quick when I went to college,” the world No.22 said.
“I was like, OK, studying isn’t really for me, I’m not made for a desk job.
“I enjoy playing tennis so it took me to get away a little bit from the sport to realise that this is what I want to do.”
Brady, who regularly partners Australia’s No.1 Ash Barty in the doubles, said that her passion for tennis had been a slow burn.
“I’ve grown to love it,” she said.
“When I was younger, I used to hate watching tennis, I didn’t really enjoy playing either, to be honest.
“I would say as the years go by, I enjoy it more and more.”
Three-time champion Osaka and Serena Williams will meet in the first semi-final at Melbourne Park on Thursday (1400 AEDT).
It means three of the semi-finalists from last year’s US Open have reached the same stage at Melbourne Park, with Muchova replacing Victoria Azarenka as the fourth player.
Brady was chuffed to be lining up again alongside the likes of Williams, who she called the greatest player of alltime with 23 major titles, and Osaka.
“They’re obviously great, great tennis players, champions of the sport,” Brady said.
“To be categorised in the same group of them, I’ll take that as an honour.
“I think it’s a huge achievement for me to make the semi-finals here andI look to make the finals, so we’ll see.”