- Bradley Klahn

The road of a tennis player takes many twists and turns. There are peaks, valleys, and decisions that can alter the entire trajectory of a career. Bradley Klahn was late the party compared to his peers, having waited until he was nearly a teenager to devote himself to the game.

The SoCal native would rise up the junior rankings, build a legacy in college tennis, and embark on a pro career that is still in flight as of 2023. But the injury hardships were prevalent at some of the most inopportune moments of Klahn’s career, and he was forced to ask and answer the same difficult question. Why are you still out here?

Klahn’s appearance on the Podcast with Kamau Murray sheds light on the life a pro tennis player that the world doesn’t get to see, and why he continues to answer the bell and push forward in the face of adversity.


Klahn’s late arrival to the tennis scene was not for lack of roots in his family. His parents were huge enthusiasts, with his mother having been standout for the Iowa Hawkeyes team. From the moment he took to the sport, success was soon to follow. Suddenly he was blue-chip college prospect with his pick of the litter, and Stanford was his selection. And despite all of his early successes in Palo Alto, which included an NCAA singles title as a sophomore, Klahn was committed to staying in school.

“I was a scrawny kid. I was talented and I worked hard, but it was always drilled into me that education is important,” he reasoned when discussing how he turned down the overtures to turn pro before graduating. “If I left, there might have been that what if, should I have finished or not? But I was able to complete that."

Klahn’s pro career began in 2012, and his ranking got as high as No. 63 just two years later. But he’s dealt with some of the worst injury luck imaginable, having had three different back surgeries dating back to his time at Stanford.

Murray asked the question that Klahn keeps hearing: What keeps you going?

“I remember getting to No. 63 and going into Indian Wells as the second or third highest ranked American, and not feeling healthy,” he recalled. Soon he would undergo another surgery that would knock him out for another 21 months, and amid tears and questions, he came to a consequential self-realization. “I know I can play, but what do I need to tweak? How can I keep my body healthy? Because if I can just allow myself to be healthy, I can let my game show through.”

That realization bought Klahn an athlete’s most precious resource: time. He altered his training, added new members to his team, and returned for several more stellar seasons. Unfortunately, his back issues re-emerged, forcing Klahn into another long road to recovery. Yet the fighting spirit remains, and this player is still committed to another push as a pro tennis player.

Klahn used his time away from the courts to enter the broadcasting world, following the trend of players who are still active that decide to test the waters of calling matches. And as all can attest to, there are some hidden advantages to your playing career that the broadcast booth provides.

“It gives you a different perspective, it allows you to see the game objectively,” Klahn assessed. “I’ve never been great on clay. But now I start to see some of those things they’re doing with movement and I’m like, 'Oh OK, maybe that would’ve been helpful to implement in my own game on the clay.'”

Klahn doesn’t know how much tennis he has left, but then again, no pro really does. He’s living in the moment, attacking his daily objectives, and loving the grind that comes with being a tennis player. It’s a special feeling to truly love what you do.