Vasek Pospisil is ranked the second-best male tennis player in Canada, but you wouldn’t know it just by talking to him. Incredibly humble and down-to-earth, the 26-year-old has been smashing tournaments since he started playing the sport at age six. Born in Vernon, B.C., Pospisil’s game has taken him around the world, earning titles at U.K.’s prestigious Wimbledon Championships, the Indian Wells Masters in California, and the Rotterdam Open in the Netherlands (he also made Hello! Canada‘s 2017 Most Beautiful list).
But when the tennis star isn’t on the court, he pursues his other passions: making videos and writing music. FLARE sat down with Pospisil while he was in Toronto trying on Topman suits at the Hudson’s Bay flagship store to chat about songwriting, his new YouTube series and his secret celebrity crush. (Hint: she’s Canadian).
You’re heading to Wimbledon soon! How are you feeling?
Good! I’m excited. Wimbledon is my favourite tournament of the year. I’ve played well there in the past, too, so I have a lot of good memories. It’s the tournament of the year to look forward to.
Do you have a pre-match ritual?
Yeah, I do. I’m always listening to music before the match and I prepare all my rackets and go through the tedious process of making sure everything is perfect. I also find a very quiet place to be alone for a little while—the calm before the storm.
What kind of music do you listen to before you play?
Whatever music I’m listening to at the moment. So, it’s not necessarily to get me pumped up or calm me down. If I’m liking a song, I’ll listen to it—whether it’s super slow or very energetic. I like indie rock and alternative. I’m one of those guys who can listen to an album for months; it takes me three months to switch [albums] if it’s really good.
What artists are you listening to right now?
The Lumineers, The Shins—I’m a big fan of The Shins—Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes. I’m also always a fan of Coldplay and The Beatles.
I read that you’ve started recording your own songs…
I started playing guitar a few years ago, and just last year learned [music] theory and how to actually write a song. Since then, I’ve been writing melodies and making songs. I have like 60 songs right now, but I stopped writing a few months back because I have too many songs. Sometime soon I want to make an album. Whether it’s an album that 100 people or 100 million people hear, it doesn’t matter to me. I want to do it, so it’ll be fun.
Is a career in music something you’d want to pursue?
Well, yeah, just because I enjoy it so much. Whether I succeed—or whether people like it or not—that’s another thing I can’t control. But I love to write songs and play music so, it’s definitely something I’ll do—at least for my soul.
You recently started a weekly YouTube series called “Bounce.” What was your inspiration behind that?
My brother travels with me quite a bit. He loves to record videos, and we’ve been doing tons of these little homemade videos together. The opportunity came up to do the YouTube channel, and it felt like it fit so easily, because we’d already been doing these kinds of things. Why not turn it into something pretty cool? It was a pretty easy transition.
Your videos offer a behind-the-scenes look at your daily life—including media appearances and tennis matches. Do you feel nervous at the thought of thousands of people watching your personal life?
Actually, yeah. It’s really strange because it’s a side of me I’d be very uncomfortable to show to somebody if I’m around them. But because the camera is there, for some reason I feel like it’s OK, because there’s nobody actually there. I don’t realize people are going to see them; I’m just [recording] with my brother or by myself. Then people [watch] them, and I’m like, ‘Oh damn! People are actually seeing this.’ I consider myself a pretty private person, so it’s an interesting contradiction with the channel, but I love it at the same time.
When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?
I wish I had more spare time because I’d love to spend it with my family and brothers. I don’t get to see them very much, so when I do have a few days [off], I try to see them. In terms of time throughout the day, when I have a bit of time I’m working on songs. But I don’t have very much time to be honest; I’m pretty much consumed with the sport.
Who’s a celebrity that you’ve always crushed on?
I always liked Rachel McAdams, and she’s Canadian, too. It would be cool to meet her. I have a few other ones…but I’d rather not say!