German-born British tennis player Jan Choinski makes his Wimbledon debut on Monday, hoping skills picked up as a ballet dancer will help him pirouette into the second round.
German-born British tennis player Jan Choinski makes his Wimbledon debut on Monday, hoping skills picked up as a ballet dancer will help him pirouette into the second round. “It will be a totally new experience for me. I cannot be more thankful,” said the 27-year-old journeyman who has taken an unusual route to tennis’s most prestigious event. Both his parents were professional ballet dancers. His mother Dominique was born in Singapore, the daughter of a naval officer, before she moved to live in Southampton on the English south coast.
She became a dancer with the Royal Ballet in London before joining a company in Germany where she met Choinski’s Polish father Andrzej, also a professional dancer.
Choinksi grew up in Germany, in the picturesque city of Koblenz on the Rhine.
“I danced at my parents’ ballet school until I was 12,” said Choinski who still lives in Germany.
“But it was never in my mind to become a professional ballet dancer. It was a way of building myself up for tennis.”
Choinski represented Germany in his junior years, even making the semi-finals of the US Open boys tournament in 2014.
As a junior, he was a top 20 player.
Despite never having lived in the United Kingdom, he has always held British citizenship thanks to his mother.
In 2018, he switched allegiance.
Despite then needing surgery on his hip and shoulder, which stalled his progress with his adopted country, Choinski has reached a career high 167 in the world.
That was enough to earn him a wildcard for this year’s Wimbledon.
However, he faces a stern test on Monday when he tackles experienced Dusan Lajovic.
The 52nd-ranked Serb stunned Novak Djokovic on his way to winning the Banja Luka title in April.
Cheering on Choinski will be his mother, father, who also now works as his coach, as well as his girlfriend.
“Having a British mum and playing the tournament that she lives the most for and having her here, I’m really thankful for that,” he added.
“There’s not a lot of my family left in the UK since my grandfather passed away two years ago.
“But maybe I’ll get more support in the second week when I reach the quarter-finals!”