Tennis Prose



Rising Force Alexander Zverev Stars in Sarasota


The world’s top junior Alexander Zverev won his second qualifying match today at the Sarasota Open, taking down Aussie Jason Kubler 64 in the third.

Zverev, just sixteen, had two double faults in the last game but he held his nerve and finished the job with an unreturnable forehand.

The Australian Open junior champ, who has an ATP ranking of 822, appears to be on the path to a stellar career in pro tennis. He’s about 6 ft. 5 in., wiry, athletic, quick footed too. Despite his height he is a superb athlete who can grind it out from the back court. Kubler tried a drop shot late in the match but the kid read it, got to it and cleverly countered with his own drop shot that Kubler didn’t even step for.

Zverev also has a fiery side which he controls with maturity. I was standing next to his brother Michael, who sat in his chair leisurely, as if the outcome was never in doubt. I got the impression Michael has a lot of confidence in his kid brother.

After the match the teenager exited the court and was asked by a man in his 70’s, “I would like your autograph.” It’s not often you see a senior citizen ask a teenager for an autograph. Zverev paused and politely waited for the elderly man to get his pen and magazine ready.

Zverev will next play American Kalamzoo winner last year Collin Altamirano (Update: Zverev def. Altamirano 60 62 on Monday).

Ilija Bozoljac told me really liked my Rios book which I gave to him last year. He liked how it went all over the place. The Serbian Davis Cup star is playing singles here and will meet Peter Polansky in the first round.

Former ATP players Hugo Armando and Julian Alonso made a comeback of sorts in the doubles qualies. Both now living in Bradenton, Armando and Alonso won a local doubles tournament last month which gave them a WC into the doubles qualies. They met Marcheko and Dustov and gave them a good battle on center court, losing l6 67, though they were up a break and 5-2 in the second. It was their first ATP action in over five years. Alonso won ATP singles titles in 97 and 98, Bologna and Chile. Armando won a doubles title in Delray with Malisse.

The match attracted a very good crowd in the stadium, mainly because Armando is a very popular figure in the area, as he plays numerous exhibitions and coaches at his academy.

I was able to update a Biofile with Iron Mike Russell who was practicing with Bobby Reynolds. He said he recently won a Challenger title from 0-5 down in the third against Peter Polansky. He also said he’s played on center court at all the majors.

Donald Young was practicing today with his unknown hitting partner. Momma Young was around the court coaching.

Japanese youngster Naoki Nagasaki was down l6 l4 to Gard of Romania but he stormed back and won the match in three.

Dennis Novikov also won 64 in the third to Switzerland’s Michael Lammer. Novikov plays Antonio Veic to qualify for the main draw.

Still one more round of qualies to be played tomorrow.


  • Scoop Malinowski · April 13, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Zverev turns seventeen on April 20. He plays for Germany.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 13, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Wow, I had no idea he was so tall. Did you see Kozlov got to the semis of a Futures this week and lost a tough 3-setter to the No. 1 seed.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 14, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Kozlov’s dad just sent me a video of that Dan, I’ll post it later. Zverev kid is tall and thin like Paire’s build almost. But moves extremely well and easily.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 14, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Zverev defeated Kozlov in the Australian Open junior final this year. By the way, Stefan Kozlov’s dad sent me this nice video of his son hitting with Rafa at Sony Open…

  • Abe Froman · April 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    @ Scoop….have you hit or played points against kozzy ?

  • Andrew Miller · April 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Kid is right on the baseline with abbreviated FH motion. Good sign – probably realizes he’s not the tallest of players so to get anything he has to hit on the rise.

    As for the #1 junior the tour’s littered with them – they can be Monfils or they can be Yuki. Frankly the 6’5” factor is a count against them – the 6’5” guys aren’t playing for keeps (unless you include the injured Del Potro, who flirts with comebacks but comes back only briefly to go back into injury then come back again, sadly). It’s the 6’2” players that can defend who keep the tour moving – Nadal, Djoko, Murray, Fed (aka the big four).

    You never know though.

    For what it’s worth Cahill’s pretty high on this U.S. generation and the upcoming one. But if you ask me it’s hard to see any generation match Isner if they don’t have a backhand. Roddick’s one of the few tennis players to win a slam with a weak backhnd, and he did it in part because his serve was a good 20mph faster than his peers and because he had the world’s best coach at the time in his ear, Brad Gilbert.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 14, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    No I haven’t Abe but it could happen in the future maybe.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 14, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Zverev plays #2 seed DY tomorrow afternoon, that should be fun. I did a Biofile with Dy today while we were watching Smyczek vs. Dancevic on center court, Frank won 75 in the third. Good Biofile with DY, he named Marcelo Rios as one of his inspirations. We also talked about Facing Rafa. Jarmere Jenkins was down a set to Nick Kyrgios in the night match.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 15, 2014 at 6:13 am

    How did JJ look? Do you see big things out of him?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 15, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Jenkins looks like an NFL DB, great athlete, great defender, stays way back behind baseline, decent serve, but he couldn’t seem to end points vs. Kyrgios enough. He can grind and slug it out but lacks the weapon. I never saw him hit a volley or slice much. He is an impressive baseline brawler though, like a boxer. He can seemingly grind like that for hours and not miss. Not sure if he can be top fifty, I’d day top hundred for sure. Kyrgios was on top of the baseline dictating, also he’s longer and taller and he can pop winners. Big serve too. Kyrgios served really big at key moments. Kyrgios can maybe win this title.

  • Abe Froman · April 15, 2014 at 9:24 am

    cool scoop – try to record that hit with kozzy !…..i just recently hit with a solid D1 player who has been out of school for 4-5 years and myself – a former D3 level guy 15 years ago – can appreciate and just imagine what the ‘skillz’ of a top 100 – 50 pro is and what they are capable of in terms of spin, pace, consistency, accuracty, movement, anticipation, etc……and even further imagine the all around ‘skillz’ of a top 20 or 10 player, etc….amazing pros !…with that said – within this bunch of pro – they obviously do have ones that shine and ones that schlack – like most of the americanos of late…LOL.



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