How Rachel Stuhlmann creates a unique place in the tennis world

Rachel Stuhlmann struts through the US Open crowd with a confident smile on her face.

The tennis influencer is at home at the star-studded tournament in Flushing – her favorite event – where she turned heads in a fiery red tennis outfit that featured a pleated mini skirt and a plunging crop top.

Stuhlmann first experienced the US Open at the age of 12 after winning an essay contest in which she explained why Arthur Ashe is an inspiration to her – something she called a “full circle moment”.

Stuhlmann’s mission is to prove that the sport can be sexy and likeable while staying true to its longstanding traditions.

The 26 year old played tennis at the University of Missouri from 2010-’14 and earned national rankings in both singles and doubles before transitioning to a career in journalism. She works for Top Court, a tennis platform, where she blogs and serves as global events and media manager.

Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Corey Sipkin/NY POST

Stuhlmann also has a lucrative career as a tennis influencer and media personality with over 150,000 Instagram followers. The 6ft brunette has a number of brand partnerships including Bodyarmor, Topgolf and DraftKings.

“I want to draw positive attention to this sport,” Stuhlmann told the Post in an hour-long interview. “It’s funny because there are a lot of girls like me in golf, but there’s nothing really intense in tennis. And I’m like, ‘You know, you can be yourself, you can look a certain way and still have fun in this sport.’”

When Stuhlmann began focusing on a career as a tennis influencer three years ago, she admitted she was “terrified of it [herself]’ because there isn’t an exact script for the role.

Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Rachel Stuhlmann/Instagram

“I was like, ‘Wait, I want to do photoshoots and show that tennis is cool and that it can be hot and fun,'” Stuhlmann said.

Stuhlmann travels to tournaments around the world and creates content on various courts where she wears her signature look. Most of her photoshoots involve local photographers who she books before landing in her city.

Stuhlmann usually looks for local photographers in the cities she travels to and contacts them via Instagram. Her close connections within the sport give her access to courts around the world.

“I know what I’m doing is good for the game and I’m just going to be myself and try to make the game more mainstream and relatable – don’t apologize,” Stuhlmann said. “I feel like I’m in the game, which has always been very traditional, so I was a little scared at first to really be myself.”

Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Stuhlmann’s biggest following is on Instagram, although she said she’s working on building her Twitter (24.6KB) and TikTok (53.7) accounts. She compares her journey – from her chosen sport to a popular internet personality – to Paige Spiranacwho is a former golfer turned Instagram sensation.

“I really like what she’s doing in golf and I’m trying to do that in tennis, too,” Stuhlmann said. “I’ve been inspired by Paige Spiranac for a while. She posted a tweet that I could really relate to:

“‘I used to be so concerned about being taken seriously and pleasing people who didn’t even like me. Everything changed in my career when I started enjoying my content and doing what I wanted.’”

Stuhlmann said she would love to meet the golf influencer and even join forces for a possible collaboration.

“I respect her very much for what she did for the game. And I know that we have many friends in common,” Stuhlmann said of a possible meeting. “Someone told me she wanted to play tennis. i want to play golf I say: ‘I will give you lessons.’

Rachel Stuhlmann playing tennis in Missouri
Rachel Stuhlmann playing tennis in Missouri
Rachel Stuhlmann/Instagram

“Paige does her thing with golf and she’s a great person to draw inspiration from, but there’s nothing quite like it in tennis. And so I just feel like I’d like to keep promoting all the different tournaments that I want to travel to. My main goals are to make the game mainstream and understandable. Whatever it is, I’ve always said yes to the possibilities and within the game and just kept creating content around the sport that gets people excited about it, showing them the different life stories around the game and in a positive way. I want to keep doing that.”

A native of Illinois, Stuhlmann is something of a local celebrity when she’s back home in the Midwest. When she’s not traveling the world to reinforce her tennis game, Stuhlmann enjoys drawing and goes to church every Sunday.

Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Rachel Stuhlmann at the US Open
Corey SIPkin/New York Post
Tennis influencer Rachel Stuhlmann.
Tennis influencer Rachel Stuhlmann.
Instagram/Rachel Stuhlmann.

“Family is very important. I love hanging out with my siblings [she’s a triplet!} and my parents. I love hanging out with friends and attending sporting events,” she said. “It’s like my favorite thing ever is dressing up in heels and a bodysuit and going to a sporting event.”

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