Bobby Croll: A lifelong devotion to tennis

Pictured above: Bobby Croll and his father, Alan Croll. Picture courtesy of Bobby Croll

Kate Kotlyar cub writer

Love can be found in a plethora of places. Whether it be in a person, an object, or an activity. For Bobby Croll, it’s tennis. 

Croll, a U.S. history teacher at Beverly Hills High School, loves his family, his career and tennis. His father taught him how to play when he was six. The two continue to play competitively together in USTA competitions. They won gold in the 2019 USTA  Father- Son Tournament

“I play with my dad. That’s the only competitive playing I do lately, these father-son tennis tournaments. But, it’s so much fun to get to travel and play and spend time with my dad. It’s awesome. I love the sport… because it’s something I get to share with my dad. I think it’s a wonderful sport,” Croll said. 

Although Croll and his father win tournaments often, winning is not the driving force. 

“I try not to think about the possibility of winning and I try to stay present and play each ball,” Croll said. “Winning is a bonus. It’s not the driving motivation. My dad and I, we’ve been playing [tennis together] for 20 years and for 10 of those years we didn’t win much. It’s definitely not about winning. It’s about being with my dad, preparing for the matches, traveling together and talking about the matches afterward. Winning is a bonus.” 

Croll spent much of his time devoted to tennis. He did not have a lot of leftover time for other activities. When he was enrolled at Beverly Hills High School and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his time was split between tennis and academics, with a strong focus on tennis. 

“Beverly was kind of a blur. I spent so much time devoted to tennis. That was my focus in high school. Every weekend I was playing tennis tournaments, that while I was at Beverly, my social life and academics took a back seat to tennis. But, I think I became a much better student in college and academics became more of a priority. I was unprepared for Wisconsin for about a semester. It was a rude awakening,” Croll said. “When I got to Wisconsin, I was not prepared academically. It was not because of Beverly; Beverly didn’t let me down. I think I was just so preoccupied and focused on tennis that, academically, I was not ready for the rigor of college.” 

Even now, he spends so much time working, spending time with his family and playing tennis, that he doesn’t have a lot of time for other activities, but it is not a problem. 

“I had to make a lot of sacrifices, for sure. [But] absolutely, it was worth it,” Croll said decisively. “I got to play Division 1 tennis. The tennis team at Wisconsin was like my family, to be able to travel and compete, and now teach private tennis lessons. I think all the sacrifices and the investment I put in at high school and college was certainly worth it. Now I get to play with my dad. What’s been really fun lately is that I’ve been teaching my son, Jasper, to play. Absolutely. Full circle moment.”

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