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Ernesto Escobedo opens up about his stutter: 'I’ve been made fun of, I’ve been embarrassed about it'
"You're not alone," said the 26-year-old, who began representing Mexico at the start of 2023.
Published May 26, 2023
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Mexico’s highest-ranked tennis player, Ernesto Escobedo, took to social media to open up about his stutter—a speech disability he has dealt with since his childhood.
The 26-year-old, who was born in Los Angeles and began representing Mexico at the start of 2023, shared a video message on Thursday to detail how his stuttering has affected his personal life as well as his pro career.
“I normally never make videos like this, but there’s something I want to talk about,” Escobedo said. “I want to talk about it for the first time...
“As most of you know, I have a stutter. It comes out when I’m in public, it comes out when I’m in big groups, it comes out when I have to talk in front of a lot of people.
“I’ve been made fun of, I’ve been embarrassed about it. A couple of my peers on tour have made me feel embarrassed about it.”
Escobedo, who lifted his first trophy of the year last week at an ITF event in Xalapa, Mexico, also admitted that the anxiety surrounding post-match interviews and press conferences has even affected his on-court performances.
“To be honest, I’ve lost big matches in the past because I just didn’t want to talk after the match,” he explained. “I just wanted to go home and just break down, that’s it.”
According to The Stuttering Foundation, about one percent of the world’s population stutters, including three million Americans. The speech disability affects four times as many males as females, and can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics and family dynamics.
In a 2019 interview with Behind The Racquet, Escobedo said he has taken speech classes and “did everything” to fix his stuttering, to no avail.
Now, he has a powerful message for his fans and viewers:
“I want to use my platform. If I can help out one person out there, it would mean the world to me… If there’s anyone that’s going through the same thing, feel free to reach out. I would love to talk to you about it.
“You’re not alone.”
Escobedo—the cousin of fellow ATP pro Emilio Nava—has lifted four ATP Challenger trophies in his career. Currently ranked No. 446, he peaked at No. 67 in the world in 2017.