Dan Holzmann, founder and owner of Ana's management company

Dan Holzmann, founder and owner of Ana's management company

During Ana’s meteoric rise in 2007, the tale of how she met and started a professional relationship with Swiss businessman Dan Holzmann became a story in itself. The 41-year-old first met Ana when she was 14 and was immediately impressed with her credentials.

Ana was in need of financial assistance as she chased her goal of becoming a professional. Dan, who is the chief executive of NSA AG, a licence holder of Juice PLUS + ®, the world’s biggest-selling nutritional supplement in capsule form, invited Ana and her family to meet him in Basel.

“I asked Ana what she wanted from life,” recalls Dan about their first meeting. “She looked me in the eye and replied, 'I want to be No.1 in the world.' I was smitten at that moment. I took a quick decision that I would help her reach her goal.”

Dan fondly remembers attending his first tournament since he started working with Ana. “She lost in the first round and she was crying. She didn’t come out of the changing room for four hours, she thought I was going to end our agreement!”

Ana recalls with a smile: “I remember that tournament. I played terribly! I was worried he would leave, but then I quickly understood how much he believed in me, and that gave me extra confidence.”

Over the next few years Dan, who has several business interests in addition to Juice PLUS + ®, funded Ana’s development as a tennis player by covering coaching and travel expenses. It was an investment that totaled $500,000.

According to the terms of their agreement, Ana paid back every cent after signing endorsement deals with adidas and Wilson and earning over $500,000 in prize money during her first full year on tour.

“It’s not a normal player-manager relationship,” explains Ana. “It’s more like a friend-friend relationship. We discuss things but we are also great friends and we have a lot of fun together. One of the most enjoyable things for me to do at a tournament is go out to dinner when Dan and the rest of the team is there.”

2007 was an especially fulfilling year for Dan, given that he had been with Ana almost from the very beginning. “She hasn’t changed a bit,” he says. “She’s the same polite, smiley girl I met in Basel.”