By Johan KriekHere is what I had when I was 17 years old...I was in boarding school at Afrikaans Boys High in Pretoria 300 miles from home in Pongola. I lived my last year of high school with an aunt, in her flat before I departed for Austria - blind luck or most likely divine intervention I did that at 17 to follow my coach Ian Cunningham to go live with him and his family in Austria after he had emmigrated from South Africa. I had a used 10-speed bike that I had to stand on one wheel in the elevator to the flat. I studied hard at school, I trained tennis in the afternoons at school which was about five miles away. I biked everywhere. I saw my parents four times a year, during school holidays and then hardly saw my sister and two younger brothers during holidays because mom was driving me around to junior tournaments. I heard: "No, he will not make it." For a myriad of reasons by so called experts and just told myself: "I can, and I will." All the time. These were the people in "power" in tennis in South Africa. I was always the one who had to fight harder, prove myself beyond ANY doubt that I belonged in a team etc. I had no NIKE contract, no Wilson racquet deal, or a shoe deal! I had my mom, my dad and a couple of people who always believed in me. The South African tennis bosses were ZERO involved in getting me to the number 7 ranked ATP player in the world. In fact, when I disappeared from tennis view in South Africa for three years 1976-78 to Austria and came back to South Africa to play a bunch of tournaments including the "Sugar" circuit, I whipped them all! These "bosses" were schocked that this "rugby player" who now could speak fluent English and German - besides Afrikaans and Zulu - could have improved SO much and they did "not know why." I will tell you why...It is called DRIVE, HUNGER, NO MONEY, A HATRED TO LOSE, A HARD-NOSED SCREW YOU ATTITUDE. YOU ARE IN MY WAY WIMP! And a healthy "chip" on my shoulder. Some of these character traits pissed a lot of people off, I got fined a lot! I tanked matches sometimes, I was immature...BUT, nobody can tell me that when you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, like a lot of today's spoilt, prima donna athletes, that that is a certain path to success, because it is NOT!! I started with NOTHING in Austria, I got a small teaching job to make money, I arrived in Florida in 1978 with $230 cash and a burning ambition to make it in tennis. I played ALL the qualies on the satellites, I came in 3rd and 2nd in the first two circuits. I qualified at the 1978 U.S. Open and beat Yannick Noah in the round of 16 and got a lesson from Vitas Gerulaitis -bless his soul - in the quarters...the rest is history...I was top ten in less than a year.I will NEVER want my career to have been any other way than, I EARNED IT!