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Alexis Galarneau celebrates winning the Granby Challenger.

Challenger Tour Star Galarneau On Psychology & Meditation

The Canadian is at a career-high No. 162 following his first Challenger title

Alexis Galarneau lifted his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title last week on home soil in Granby, Canada. While fans may see the 24-year-old strike a fuzzy yellow ball, they may not know his off-court routine that includes daily meditation and speaking to a sports psychologist.

A former North Carolina State University standout, Galarneau departed Raleigh with an all-time school singles record (65-36) and a Bachelor’s Degree in finance. The two-time ITA All-American then transitioned to the pros and made a commitment to work with a sports psychologist. Galarneau has continued those meetings on a near-weekly basis for two-and-a-half years.

“I thought coming out of college, it would be a great opportunity to talk to someone,” Galarneau told ATPTour.com. “When you're on the road, it can be lonely sometimes, and keeping track of things that you're doing well, things that you're not doing as well.

“It's important to really take your mental health [seriously] and also prepare yourself for your best performances. I think everyone should use it.”

This year, Galarneau became an ambassador for Tennis Canada’s Mental Timeout Intivative, alongside WTA star Bianca Andreescu and Canada’s top-ranked wheelchair player Rob Shaw. The goal of the initiative is to be a leading voice for mental wellness in sport through awareness, promotion and education.

Galarneau even curated a Spotify ‘Mental Timeout’ playlist that features 10 songs, starting with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, he listens to when he needs to calm his mind. Andreescu and Shaw also constructed a playlist.

Another way Galarneau quiets his thoughts is by drawing. At a career-high No. 162 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Galarneau recently started carving out time to enjoy the new hobby he discovered when he bought an iPad.

“I'll just take pictures from my phone that I took and try to recreate the canvas,” Galarneau said. “Lately, it's been a lot of pictures from my room window. It kind of reminds me of home as well. It's a cool little time off. You put on a little bit of music and you're not really thinking, just drawing on my iPad. I'll take 30, 45 minutes a day to try and put in my sort of little meditation.”

Drawing may bring the Laval-native memories of home, much like how he will remember his first ATP Challenger Tour title. Galarneau became the first Canadian Challenger champion of 2023, triumphing in Granby, just 90 minutes from his hometown.

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/alexis-galarneau/gk06/overview'>Alexis Galarneau</a> the Challenger 100 event in Granby, Canada.
Alexis Galarneau the Challenger 100 event in Granby, Canada. Credit: Sarah-Jäde Champagne

Galarneau is one of five Canadians to win the Granby Challenger, joining Frank Dancevic, Vasek Pospisil, Peter Polansky and Gabriel Diallo.

“It felt amazing. I visualised this moment a tonne of times growing up, watching past Canadian champions win it,” Galarneau said. “I felt like it'd be a great achievement and a great feeling for me to go on and do the same thing they did. I felt really proud of that and having my whole family there was a really special moment for me.”

When Galarneau made his ATP Tour debut last August at the National Bank Open, he sported long hair in a ponytail and pushed 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov to two tight sets in the opening round.

This year, Galarneau will aim for his maiden tour-level victory when he once again competes at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada as a wild card. But there will be no ponytail this time. Galarneau first showcased a fresh haircut in May and despite lifting his first Challenger title in short hair, he stated that there is nothing superstitious about the change.

“I thought it was time. It was just a lot,” Galarneau said. “It took a lot of time to wash and prepare. I just wanted to keep it simple. It feels cleaner. I think there was a wild side to the long hair.”

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/alexis-galarneau/gk06/overview'>Alexis Galarneau</a> in action at the 2022 National Bank Open.
Alexis Galarneau in action at the 2022 National Bank Open. Credit: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images