Tennis Prose



Scoop Gets Interviewed By

Scoop Malinowski was requested to do this wide-ranging interview with…

Q: During your job while you were interviewing tennis players which person were impressed you the most and why?

“That’s a hard question to answer because so many of the players are extremely intelligent…some that stand out: Ljubicic, Nadal, Federer, Zvonareva, McEnroe, Djokovic, Agassi, Santoro, Tracy Austin, Roddick, Vilas, Hingis, Evert, Seles. I think all the top players in ATP and WTA are very smart, it’s not just physical ability that propels them to the top but also their intelligence to play the right tactics and behave like a champion.”

Q: Roger Federer won three including MASTERS in London from four his tournaments at the end of season 2011. Do you think Roger could be back on the throne in upcoming season 2012 or rather Novak Djokovic will hold his shape, his good condition and will be hard to “jump in” for Roger as #1 in the ATP Tour?

“The big question is will Djokovic be able to handle the pressure to defend all the points and titles in 2012? If he can’t do it, I believe Federer is poised to be the one to capitalize. Nadal may be losing his foot speed though he sure did look impressive in the Davis Cup final. Very hard to predict, it’s going to be a great new season. Right now, at this moment, I think Djokovic will repeat and win three majors next year and also the Olympic gold medal. I believe Djokovic can play even better tennis in 2012 and he will be ready to do it. I believe this is the Novak Djokovic era.”

Q: Jesse Levine right now won Australian Open Wild Card tournament in Georgia? What can you say about this young player? Have you seen his in action?

“Jesse Levine winning this wildcard playoff was a big surprise. He is about 23-24 years old. I’ve seen Levine play several times and interviewed him in Newport. He is a very quick player, lefty, very good defensively, very good racquet head speed, tenacious fighter. He is best know for defeating Safin at Wimbledon in 2009. He is a very nice person, friendly, and it’s good to see him back in the big events because he has not been active in ATP events over the last two years. Winning the Australian Open wildcard playoff will be a huge boost for his career.”

Q: Is States there are many talented young players. Which of them in your opinion should emerge out in the future as solid top players?

“John Isner might be our best hope. He’s a tremendous competitor – many players have told me Isner is one of the toughest competitors on the ATP Tour. His serve may be the best weapon in the game and his baseline game is getting better. He has shown he can compete with the very best and I would not be surprised to see him to make the top 10 in 2012. I still like Ryan Harrison. He’s very smart, a very hard worker, has all the personal attributes of a champion. He had a tough straight set loss to Marin Cilic early at the U.S. Open this year which was a disappointment because there were high expectations for Harrison to do well after his very good run in New York the previous year. He hasn’t been a factor in any ATP event since. His game is a bit predictable, he will need to develop a bigger weapon and bigger serve to climb higher up the rankings. I like Jack Sock a lot, he made his mark by winning the U.S. Open mixed doubles with Melanie Oudin. Sock played a big night match at the U.S. Open this year against Roddick on Ashe Stadium and had some break points in the first set to take the lead but he just couldn’t capitalize. Then Roddick got the break and dominated the match. Sock is definitely in the hunt to become a high ranking player but there’s a long way to go. Donald Young had his best year of his career this year. Young has the talent, the question about him is if he’s willing to work hard enough to develop his physicality. He’s a beautiful player to watch, if he can get stronger and beef up his serve and backhand, he can be a top player. Young’s serve is too spinny now.”

Q: It was great season 2011 for polish tennis. How it looks from the other continent?

“Polish tennis might be about equal to American tennis right now. You have the #1 player Wozniacki, Lisicki, Kerber, a top team of Fyrstenberg and Matkowski in doubles, Kubot, Radwanksa who could be top 5 next year. Jerzy Janowicz is still out there, he can be a top 100 or 50 player, he reminds me of Karlovic and Isner. Does Nadal qualify as part Polish? Because he was born as a champion in the ATP because he won his first ATP title in Poland [smiles].”.

Q: Do you think Agnieszka Radwanska has the arguments to be in the top5 in WTA in 2012 year and is she ready enough to win some Grand Slam title?

“I don’t hear any tennis expert mention Radwanksa as a potential Grand Slam event winner. But I also never heard anybody discuss Francesca Schiavone as a future Slam winner. Of course Radwanska can win a major title, she is a very smart player, it’s going to be difficult because she is undersized and not as physically strong as the top WTA players, but nobody should count Radwanska out. She is a threat.”

Q: Lately your new book about Marcelo Rios came out on tennis market. Can you tell us sth about this book and what was your inspiration to write exactly about Rios, why he? Tell us also about your other tennis books…

“Marcelo Rios was a great player who should not be forgotten by tennis. He was also an intriguing character, a non-conformist maverick type, unlike any other player in terms of personality, attitude and playing style. I did a feature about Rios when he retired for Tennis Week magazine and the article got very favorable reviews so it inspired me to develop the article into a book. It seemed everybody that I talked to in tennis about Rios had terrific stories to tell. So I collected as much information as I could and assembled it into this book “Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew.” As a writer or an artist, Rios is a superb subject because he is a fascinating, unique, mysterious, colorful figure. This book about Rios was my second book, the first was about the Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis heavyweight title fight, “Heavyweight Armageddon: The Tyson-Lewis Championship Battle.”

Q: You often have hat on your head… Why is that? Is it your being-recognized sign/attribute?

“Good question John! Yes, I wanted to stand out early in my career because my style of writing is different. I always loved those old fedora press hats from the old Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney movies and wanted to wear it to stand out and pay homage to the old-time newspaper reporters.”

Q: You write about tennis players but you are also interested in boxing also in hockey. Could you tell us – after many interviews with representatives of many different sports – Are people from some sports – in general – distinguished by some specific features of personality?

“This is an interesting question. I actually interview people from ALL sports, but mostly tennis, boxing, hockey, baseball, NFL football and track and field. I can’t differentiate the athletes by sport, they are all regular people. Each sport has many athletes who stunned me with their humor, intelligence, story telling, kindness. Hockey players and tennis players are very nice and gracious, I still remember how simple and extremely nice Caroline Wozniacki, Rafael Nadal, Fabrice Santoro, Andrea Petkovic and Alexander Dolgopolov were when we spoke.”

1Q: Your favourite tennis player? And why?

“I really like them all John. I appreciate how difficult it is to win any match, any tournament, how hard it was for these players to get to the top 100. They are all sporting miracles. I like so many players for different reasons – Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Williams sisters, Wozniacki, Sharapova, they are all admirable, not perfect, human beings. But I will say my favorite player to watch is Marcelo Rios. I just love the way he played, he played a different game than any other player ever played, so fluid, so flashy, so artistic. He was not the nicest or friendliest person to deal with but his game was like watching live art.”

Q: Fish, Roddick, Isner in the top20…. Was it good year for american tennis this year 2011?

“Very good year for them, but compared to Agassi, Sampras, Courier and Chang, no, it was a failure. They did not win a major title. Murray, Federer, Nadal, Ferrer and Djokovic are simply better players than Fish, Roddick and Isner right now.”

Q: Your nickname is Scoop… Could you tell us the story about why is that?

“When I first started doing my Biofile interviews in 1992, I realized that each Biofile always discovers a ‘scoop’ about the person. Every Biofile always found something little known. So I decided to give myself this nickname, a self-proclaimed nickname [smiles]. Also I think Scoop Malinowski sounds more like a journalist name than Mark Malinowski.”

Q: What could you wish for polish tennis fans in the upcomin’ year 2012?

“I want to see Wozniacki win a Grand Slam event and the Olympics. It would mean so much to her and I would love to see her joyful reaction after winning the match point. She has paid her dues and suffered, now it is time for her to celebrate a grand triumph. Let’s hope she does.”

Q: Also couple of basic personal infos, I mean: where you live, where you was born, when and why you started to become journalists, why sport? where you were working for.

“I was born in Philadelphia, PA and now live in Teaneck, NJ and Tampa, Florida during winter. I started to become a journalist around the age of 10 when I created a comic strip, with a childhood friend, and got it published into a local newspaper. Also at around age 13, I created a boxing magazine about our neighborhood boxing matches. I also created homemade boxing programs for TV fights and sketched many drawings of athletes. My work has appeared in The New York Post, New York Daily News, Tennis Magazine,, Ring Magazine,, Daily Racing Form, The Hockey News, Baseball America, New York Giants NFL Official Programs, Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield I Official Program, The Sporting News, Track & Field News, etc.

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  • Dan Markowitz · December 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    c’mon scoop, you don’t have a favorite player in today’s game? i’d be curious how many fans out there rate djoko, nadal and fed.

    I’d have to say that i’d go djoko, fed then nadal. I like fed’s game the most, but i admire djoko’s maturation as a player and his huge breakthrough this year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 20, 2011 at 1:03 am

    So many today Dan, you know I’m a Djokovic man, but also adore Rafa and Fed for many reasons too, just like seeing Djokovic have his time at the top now, also really like Dolgopolov (he’s a big Rios fan), Monfils, Hewitt, Blake, Dimitrov, Harrison, Lopez, Del Potro. Just watched this Rome final again with Djokovic beating Rafa, what incredible tennis that was, what a season by Djokovic.

  • Andrew Miller · December 20, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Is Wozniaki big in Poland? Does she have a huge following there because of her parents?

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Andrew I will ask a colleague who lives in Poland…stay tuned…

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Andrew: From my source in Poland…
    Radwanska is more popular than Wozniacki in Poland I think. Media prefer to write about Agnieszka beacause she represents Poland, she was born in Poland and she lives in Poland. Wozniacki is representing Denmark, she was born there and lives there but… she has got Polish parents, she speaks Polish and often comes to Poland for even opening her Academy here and some exhibition events so she is also popular but not as much as Radwanska who is in media all the time. Is it clear? But yes she is accepted (Caro) as Polish.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm


    Remember the Polish players we met at the Donnay party at Spin this summer. I talked to a female doubles player for awhile and she was pretty, down-to-earth and very nice. And then Marcin Matkowski, part of the No. 8 doubles team in the world, was avidly playing table tennis with some other Poles. There’s a very nice vibe that comes from the Polish players I’ve met, and of course, Wozniaki.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 21, 2011 at 12:16 am

    They are very down to earth. I Biofiled Fyrstenberg about five years ago and he has been friendly to me ever since. Matkowski is super cool too, so is Kubot. Wozniacki is as cool and nice as any tennis player of all time, I put in the request to do a boxing story about her boxing interest for Boxing News magazine in London and she came to the media center by herself right on time to do the Q/A. And now every time I see her, she always acknowledges me and we have a few words when possible. Big fan of Caro, she is a champion on and off the court.

  • Gans · December 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Scoop:

    Congratulations! Great read!

    “I appreciate how difficult it is to win any match, any tournament, how hard it was for these players to get to the top 100. They are all sporting miracles.”

    I agree 100%. Competing requires guts in itself whether one wins or not. And to choose that as one’s career is extraordinary in my opinion. That’s why I believe it is not about winning. It’s the struggle. Knowing you could lose but still giving your best is extraordinary at any level.

    You have a great resume, ‘Scoop’! 🙂

    BTW, I completed the biofile with Gary and have the second half, probably around 60% or more in the electronic format ready to upload. The rest would probably be in Wor for now.

    I hope to send it across this weekend!

  • Steve · December 22, 2011 at 1:42 am

    This was a good interview. I guess Tennis and Hockey really do have some of the nicest athletes. Radwanska and Wozniacki seem extremely nice.
    We are lucky to have Fed, Nadal and Djoker represent our sport.
    Did Sam Querrey get sucked into a worm hole or something? It’s like he doesn’t exist. I mean it’s an elbow injury, right? He should be back.

  • Steve · December 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    …can you refrain from mentioning that you’re staying in Florida as we head into January? Thanks.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    LOL. Okay I won’t say it’s over 80 today and that there has not so much as a drop of rain in two weeks down here. Nor that I heard some good stories at lunch yesterday about Johnny Mac, Peter Korda, Marcelo Rios at the De Soto Mall and that Nicole Vaidisova started hitting lightly recently.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Michelle Larcher De Brito was hitting on the public courts on Anna Maria Island on the edge of Bradenton, she stayed till dusk too, working very hard. She’s very nice, one of the nicest pro players you will ever meet. First Biofiled her about 3-4 years ago.



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