The last time Jared Hiltzik was making headlines was in March after the ITF implemented drastic changes, sending his career hurtling in the unknown. Since then, he's reevaluated his tennis career, and started focusing more on his E-commerce company Recovery for Athletes—which has churned out over $1 million in sales since launching a year ago.
The website, that he created from scratch with his younger brother Aron, sells recovery equipment for anyone dealing with injuries or trying to stay healthy, and tools for physical therapists and doctors.
"My brother and I we were at a tournament in Columbus, Ohio," Hiltzik told Baseline. "We were using one of the products that we now sell and were like, this could be a good opportunity to sell something that we've seen help with longevity and something we've used in the past."
The 25-year-old American relied on his past E-commerce experience and his brother-in-law Shawn Foley, who owns Rain or Shine Golf. He and Foley previously ran a fishing and kayak store under the E-commerce model.
"I was trying to look for another way to make money while I could play on tour and help fund my tennis career," Hiltzik said about Recovery for Athletes. "It was something really awesome that we can expand our knowledge and do something while we're just on the road because you just go crazy watching the same Netflix series over and over again."
It's no secret that players ranked outside of the Top 100 struggle to make enough money to stay afloat. That's part of the reason the ITF made its drastic changes, but it made reforms, starting in August, to award ATP points at all tournaments again, including at the Futures level. The two ranking systems still exist though, with Hiltzik ranked No. 498 ATP and No. 333 ITF.
Hiltzik reached his career-high ranking of No. 339 in March 2018.
After being caught in a no-mans land between the ATP and ITF, he's taking a break from the grind, having not touched a racquet in months. The University of Illinois graduate is making a lot more money a week with Recovery for Athletes than he was losing in the second round of ATP Challengers. While he's stayed clear of watching tennis, two things have caught his eye: Dominik Koepfer's fourth-round US Open run and Laver Cup.
This is just the beginning @DominikKoepfer. Super proud of you man ???????? ????— Jared Hiltzik (@JaredHiltzik) September 2, 2019
"It's motivating because we started at the same exact position," Hiltzik said about Tulane alumnus Koepfer. "But it's tough where it's like, what could I have done differently? He's one of the hardest workers I know and he's never really questioned the system. I was too aware with the ATP and ITF; Dominik had tunnel vision and just went straight forward."
While Laver Cup was predominately Top-20 players, Hiltzik suited up for the Washington Kastles in August. He calls World TeamTennis the ideal lifestyle because you're on a team, expenses are covered, you're guaranteed a paycheck and it's a really great atmosphere.
"Because I really want to play that again I have to keep my ranking up and put myself in a place to still do that," he said. "That's probably one of the biggest reasons why I would come back is to have the opportunity to play WTT again."
While he figures out his next move on court, Hiltzik will be busy dealing with a different kind of opponent: Amazon. Luckily, he's got a unique advantage.
"To compete with them is very very difficult," he said. "But we are the experts in recovery and we have so much professional experience using every single product, unlike Amazon."