Tennis Prose



Heart of a Champion: Stefan Kozlov


By Scoop Malinowski

In this latest edition of our “Heart of a Champion” series we look at Stefan Kozlov positive impressions left during his 2014 appearances at the Northern California ATP Challengers in late 2014 when he was 16.

Kozlov met the “Nor Cal Tennis Czar” Paul Bauman, who was covering the events. Bauman told me via e-mail: “I agree about Stefan. He’s so mature on and off the court. He checked out my web site ( on his own via Twitter, complimented me on my stories and went out of his way to shake my hand and say goodbye after the final.”

It’s rare to find any professional athlete speak favorably of or even have positive relations with any media member, but teenager Kozlov proved he is an exception back in 2014. Kozlov just turned twenty years of age on February 1.

Kozlov is currently ranked 155 and has career earnings of $421,956. He has a career record of 5-15 in ATP World Tour main tour matches. He has won two ATP challenger titles, the most recent coming in late 2017 in Las Vegas.

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  • Dan Markowitz · February 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Since when is Kozlov a champion? He’s a decent player for 20, but he’s not lived up to his hype at all. This year alone, playing in Challengers and the Aussie Open Qualis he’s 3-3 and just got beat in SS by Tiafoe. At the US Open Qualis he looked downright pedestrian.

    I admire his fortitude and his game, but if anything Kozlov has been a disappointment with young Americans like Tiafoe, Donaldson, Fritz, Paul and Escobedo all passing by him and international youngsters like Shapovalov, Chung, Medvedev, Coric, Khachanov and de Minaur having much better results,

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Kozlov has won two ATP Challenger titles so that makes him a champion. I agree he has struggled with consistency and he has not made an impact yet at the ATP main tour level. He’s struggling with confidence issues about if he’s really good enough to be a steady, consistent top 100 player. It’s taking him longer to adapt to the top 100 level which he almost broke into a year ago but took a step backwards.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 5, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Dan, you want to talk about real racism, talk about Israel’s deporting it’s illegal immigrants. If Trump did this, you’d call him Hitler or worse. Do you dare call Israel racist for doing this?

  • catherine · February 5, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    I was going to write something here but actually I just can’t be bothered.

    I have to say I come to T-P now almost dreading what I’m going to read. It’s becoming weird.

  • Hartt · February 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    And in tennis news: I am delighted to report that Felix Auger-Aliassime is back, after a few weeks away because of injury. He is playing the Budapest Challenger tomorrow against Blaz Rola at 7:30 am EST. Naturally, I have to chair a course tomorrow morning, but if the match starts on time should get to see the first hour or so. I really miss watching Felix.

    Although they won’t match the excitement of the AO, there are several interesting ATP 250 tourneys this week. Just about every French player is in Montpellier, except for Mannarino, who is bucking the trend and returning to Sofia for the third time. I think there are 10 French players in Montpellier, including Gasquet, who has won the tournament 3 times and was a finalist twice.

    Defending champ Dimitrov had to withdraw from Sofia because of his shoulder injury, but Stan took a WC and will replace him.

    And it what one wag called the “Victor Estrella Burgos Invitational,” Victor will attempt to win that tourney for the 4th year in a row! Carrena Busta is the top seed there.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 5, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Scoop, I don’t read the links you post. Israel I’m not a big fan of especially Netanhyahu. I just try not to pay attention to race in sports or life. There are good white people, there are bad white people. Same can be said for both races. But the idea that white people in the U.S. are being persecuted is rather funny to me when white people hold power in every realm/field/position. Look at the NBA or NFL, the best players are almost exclusively black, but how many black team owners are there or general managers or coaches? Very few. Now let’s talk tennis not Trump or white/black/brown/yellow like we agreed to on

  • catherine · February 5, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Hartt – good to see Felix back. I’ll try to pick up some live action or clips because I’ve never actually seen him play a match.

    The Tasmanian tour also continues with a tournament in Launceston – northern city. The weather in Tas can be hot in February but nothing like the mainland.



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