Tennis Prose



Controversial Maxime Cressy Is Breaking Out

I never even heard of Maxime Cressy until last month. The 6-foot-six, Californian born in Paris, plays at UCLA and gained a wildcard into Newport Beach Challenger qualies where he edged Stefan Kozlov from 2-4 down in the first, 76 61.

He won two rounds in main draw.

Then he won the doubles title in Columbus Challenger with Bernardo Saraiva.

Cressy is 21 and he has a very interesting game, he serves and volleys on just about every point and he tries to chip and attack when returning, to get to net. Constant pressure. Nice volleys. He also, most uniquely, has a very vocal fighting spirit and yells Cmon after many big points, he also grunts and makes noises on each ball strike when the match is tense.

With his fiery manner and backwards cap, Cressy reminds one of a young Lleyton Hewitt, a ferocious, fearless competitor who doesn’t care what anyone or any opponents thinks or says about his intensity. He’s here to succeed and do it his way, giving it every ounce of passion and fight he’s got in his blood, sweat and soul. He’s as in your face and fearless of confrontation as young Hewitt. Richard Gasquet passive personality Cressy certainly is not.

The man is taking on the world and he’s absolutely determined to succeed and become a triumphant pro tennis player. If you don’t like his vocal excesses, tough luck. Cressy isn’t showing any signs of deferring to anyone. Be the best, f*** the rest.

This week Cressy roared like a lion vs Uchida and Smyczek, who got so upset he screamed at Cressy to “shut up!” When have you ever seen a cool, calm, composed veteran like Tim Smyczek snap like that and scream on the court? How about never. I’ve seen Smee play dozens of times and never seen him explode in anger like that ever. Cressy is getting in people’s heads, even cool cat vets like Smee. Cressy won the match this week in Cleveland 64 63.

Since beating Kozlov, Cressy has been on a tear. In main draw in Newport Beach he beat Sarkissian and then lost to eventual finalist Schnur 62 75. This week in Cleveland, Cressy qualified again, and in main draw beat Uchida, Escobar, Gojo and Smyczek, all in straights sets. Cressy is into the semis where he will battle a UCLA alumni Marcos Giron.

Cressy is now 335 in the world and rising fast.

The more he wins the more he roars. The lion must roar.

Stay tuned as we keep following this breakout future star Maxime Cressy…

Here is an article at Deadpin that shows Cressy videos of his controversial and provocative roaring vs Smyczek and Uchida.

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  • Dan Markowitz · February 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Love this piece, Scoop and I too, have become intrigued by Cressy. Very funny when Smyczek yelled at him, he said, “go back…” and then he didn’t know where to say he’s from because he’s half-French and half-American. He played at an academy as a junior in France. But I’d like to see him play. 6-6 and he’s serving and volleying and Paul Annacone-ing by chipping and charging. I too like his attitude out there although his grunts are annoying. He’s one to watch for sure.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 2, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Trouble is, if you look at his strokes, they don’t look very good. He chips his forehand a lot and slices his backhand a good deal, although his net play looks very good. But his yells during the match are epic!

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 2, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Cressy beats Giron and is in the final of a challenger. This guy was a total unknown a month ago, now he’s emerging as one of the best young prospects in the game and a legit #NEXTGEN finals contender. His grunts are perfectly legit, and his comeones are as intense as any ever. What an interesting player to shake things up. Can’t wait to see how guys like Kyrgios and isner and Sock and Gasquet and Fognini respond to this guy’s in your face intensity.

  • Jg · February 2, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Go Cressy, beats UCLA alum. Maybe Cressy wins the NCAAs and gets the Open direct entry, I think he got quarters last year.

  • Wayne Bradford · February 3, 2019 at 2:06 am

    No comparison to Hewitt. One is Australian and a shrimp and clean shaven and won Slams. The other is tall and French and has a beard and has yet to play in a tournament of note.

    Did he even succeed in college tennis like an Isner or Steve Johnson?

    I agree with Dan, his strokes are not good and he is just a big oaf who has some power. Like many NCAA players you see, a dime a dozen. I’ll bet he flames out next week.

  • catherine · February 3, 2019 at 5:46 am

    When a man screams and yells and grunts and carries on it’s seen as all good but when a woman does it she opens herself to a pile of abuse.

    I know you don’t do this Scoop because you like emoting but on the part of the general public, yes.

    I call that unfair.

  • Jg · February 3, 2019 at 8:08 am

    I don’t think his strokes are bad at all, maybe his forehand, but his backhand return is pretty good when he rips it, and his serve and volley game is excellent. I saw Isner first professional match after college and he looked completely uncoordinated, Cressy does not have that issue. Even I’d he doesn’t succeed at the next level, he’s mixing it up out there and is at least giving it a different look. His return game is far better than Isners especially at that stage in career.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 3, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Catherine, Cressy is doing it to pump himself up and to antagonize opponents. Same deal as Hewitt though of course Hewitt always emphasized the “i’m doing it to pump myself up” angle which of course was baloney. It was certainly to also antagonize and provoke the opponents. You’re right I never complain or criticize WTA grunting, they work hard and devote their lives to tennis and grunting gives that extra oomph and passion to their play. Well deserved and needed by many players. Would love to hear Gasquet turn into a loud grunter, he might win something of note.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 3, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Agree fully jg, Cressy has good technique, looks like a Karlovic out there, he can play long points and sustain rallies and grind it out. This is a special player and he’s blossoming before our eyes. He always had this self belief otherwise we would not be seeing what we’re seeing right now.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 3, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t think there’s a double standard. Cressy is already being called out for his obnoxious grunting and over-emoting. Look, when women like Sharpie grunt the way she does it’s called out. But with Cressy his emotions are I think good for the game even if he were my son or I was playing against him, I’d drill him. I’ve already told my son, when an opponent of his yells, “C’mon,” he makes a mistake or overly-pumps his fist or yells out, drop shot and then drill him. He doesn’t do it as of yet, but I keep telling him to do it. I hate these little punks in the juniors who think they’re big shots and display bad behavior. I always tell Cal to “Lendl-rize them.”

  • Dan Markowitz · February 3, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Hasn’t been a real good year for the Harry’s. Christian just lost in Cleveland Challenger 3 and 0 and is now #238 and Ryan Harry, is #93 and has only beaten two top 50 players since Brisbane last year and those two players, Chung and Sugita have been on long declines as well.

  • jg · February 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Cressy wins in 3 close sets, first 2 tie breakers. You have to hand it to him, he stays with the game plan — come in on every point. He gets passed a bunch but it doesnt deter him, he stays with it and it must get in the opponents head, the constant pressure, no rhythm (like Ivo). Torporgaard, the other finalist finally cracked and must have been pissed off by the end, he appeared to walk off in the middle of the trophy presentation (Ive never seen that happen) Cressy was in his head.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 3, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Dan, It’s a mistake to tell Cal to change his game to try to hit the yeller. That proves the yeller has gotten inside Cal’s head and he’s altered his game to do something unnatural. If he nets the shot intended to hit the yeller it’s even worse. Cal has to find a way to deal with it in a productive way. Focus better. Outyell the yeller himself. I think the best way is to concentrate all his focus and intensity on beating the guy. And raise his own intensity level beyond the yeller. But it’s hard, it’s a big challenge to deal with. But it’s a good experience to deal with and overcome. Will make Cal a better smarter player. I have yelled a lot even lately playing the Purdue guy, but it helped and worked. Even though it pissed off some people and I lost friends I don’t care, they weren’t real friends anyway. Cressy is smart, he’s found a way to fire himself up and make an impact on the Tour. It’s working well. It’s natural for him. It works. Can’t mess with success. I have expressed many times here how important emotional adrenaline is as a weapon. Cressy is proving it. Maybe he reads the site.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 3, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    jg, it’s interesting that’s the same way he beat Kozlov. Kozlov was passing him early and Cressy was missing volleys but he kept employing that gameplan, kept attacking and then Kozlov began to miss shots. Then he totally collapsed and was missing everything. Cressy could change the game with his tactics. Very interesting stuff. He’s gaining more confidence and getting better at what he does. I expect IW to give him a WC now. He deserves it over all the stagnated Americans.

  • Wayne Bradford · February 3, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Dan I agree with your advice to your son. You should try to drill these punks. I hate them too.

    How good is your son? Just curious since I think you mentioned him before.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 3, 2019 at 10:27 pm


    I just tell him that. He’s never done it. He actually has won the last two big Super 6’s (top 32-kids in the Eastern section) Sportsmanship Award–something I’d never have won. Cal’s a grinder. Reminds me a lot of Spadea. Super backhand and big forehand when he decides to hit it. He’s a pretty big-time prospect. Solinco just gave him 50% sponsorship of their strings.

    He’s the no. 1 12-year-old in Westchester County and probably no. 2, 3 or 4 in all of New York State. He’s going to play no. 1 on the varsity team at White Plains High School, something that’s never been done on the varsity level at this school. He’s still a serious baseball player, very fine pitcher, so we’ll see if that impedes his tennis.

    But pros like Chris Mayotte still say that he’ll play pro tennis. Chris said he’s never seen a better ball-striker for a 10 year old (he’s 12 now, but Chris said this when he was 10) except for his brother, Tim, who had a pretty good pro career.

    We’ll see…it’s a long road.

  • Wayne Bradford · February 3, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    That’s pretty impressive. If he is so good, is high school tennis a good option or better to move to an academy in Florida or something like that? I know that is a difficult choice.

    Perhaps he can play in college and become a late bloomer like many others that way or develop like Mackenzie or someone like that.

  • Wayne Bradford · February 4, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Your Cressy fact of the week is this. In the NCAA championships, he lost his final college match to Ohio State’s Martin Joyce. But who did Cressy earn his final college win against? A player from USC also born in France named Thibault Forget.

    That’s right, Guy Forget’s son. I bet you won’t ‘Forget’ that!

    Also here’s a tamer Cressy celebration in college…

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 4, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Cressy also lost his first match of the new year to Brandon Nakashima. Things can chance quickly in tennis.

  • Doug Day · February 4, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Im a fan of go big or go home but isnt that Deadspin piece on grunt works just what the rulebook would call a hinderence?

  • catherine · February 4, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Hartt – has Denis had his hair cut ?

  • Hartt · February 4, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Catherine, yes, he had it cut last fall. He said the response has been 50/50 about the new look. I like it.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 4, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Cressy wins again, taking out Gomex in his first match in Dallas. And this in the Qualis! The guy wins a Challenger and comes back and plays the next day `1000 miles away and wins in the Qualis!

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 4, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    I’m starting to actually wonder if Cressy will ever lose a tennis match again. 🙂

  • Jg · February 4, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Much less than 24 hours apart. The guy saved a set point by chipping and charging the service return, Gomez didn’t know what to do and was clearly frustrated

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 4, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    I’m going to start my next book project this month: Facing Maxime Cressy 🙂 Boy what a wonderful ride it has been and it looks like this warrior is here to stay for a while.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 4, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I was really hoping your next book would be: Facing Dustin Brown!

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 4, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Dan, Even though sales would be about three, to you, Dustin and his parents, it still would be a helluva book. Maybe we can do joint venture Facing Mr. Dreadlocks 🙂

  • catherine · February 5, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Coaching news- Wang Quiang parts company with Peter McNamara and Simona Halep links up with Thierry van Cleemput.

  • Chazz · February 5, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Cressy lost to Christian Harrison today, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in Dallas.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    What was more shocking than Cressy finally losing is that he was virtually completely quiet, didn’t grunt, didn’t pump himself up after hitting winners. It was fun watching him play. He’s got a big serve, quick for his big frame (although he’s pretty skinny) and has nice touch on his volleys. But where was the brash behavior that got Smyczek so up in arms? Maybe Cressy reconsidered wearing the black hat because if you had never heard of his reputation for loud and obnoxious behavior on the court, you never would’ve known about his past displays from this match.

    Christian Harrison has some power and explosiveness to his game. He’s a bit of a brute, but I don’t think his upside is very high being where he is at 24. Opelka dropped the first set to the Brit, Choiski, who’s Rafa-ing out of each changeover, sprinting out of his chair. Opelka has a ridiculous serve, but his head doesn’t seem screwed on too tight and his forehand is very inconsistent and flat. He’s basically a weird dude or looks it. Kind of spooky if you asked me wearing his long New Balance skateboarder’s shorts and hat pulled tight over his head.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 5, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Cressy probably ran out of gas. The passion can’t always be at maximum level. It’s hard to summon that ultra high intensity level for every match, plus the letdown factor after winning his first Challenger. Expected loss. Plus Harrison is a good player. Opelka is the most fit and athletic giant, good win for him. He will be top 40 soon.

  • Jg · February 5, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Scheduling was not fair to Cressy, 2 AM matches after the PM final in Cleveland the day before the first AM match in Dallas, you think the tournament director would give him a later match today, especially after Brad Gilbert got on the Cressy bandwagon.

  • Doug Day · February 5, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Dan – How are you watching that match? Are you in Dallas with son or streaming it somehow?

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 5, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    ATP site livestreams and Tennis Channel is showing Dallas matches too.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 6, 2019 at 6:04 am

    Tennis Channel, Doug. They’re showing the Dallas Challenger which is pretty cool. I had the day off today, Tuesday, and timed it right so that I was home to watch most of the match and the rest I taped.

    I don’t think it was that Cressy didn’t have the energy to do his usual grunting and loud celebrations. There was one point in the second set where he did let go a scream after he won the point, but I think unfortunately, now that he’s in the Big’s, the word has gotten out to young Maxime that carrying on this way is not going to be tolerated.

    I noticed at today’s match that not only was Pat Harrison in the stands, but so was Ryan Harry, and I can imagine Ryan might’ve been there to chortle and maybe more at Cressy if he started to act out. I think a lot of the players saw the reaction Timmy Smyczek had to playing Cressy and they’re not going to let this young upstart from Paris no less, act out like he’s the Second Coming of John McEnroe mixed with Jimmy Connors.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 6, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Da, good analysis of Cressy maybe getting a stern of indirect message to shut the F up. I don’t like it if Cressy is already bowing and deferring to the veteran players. It’s a sign of weakness. Hewitt never caved in, he kept on doing it his way. Cressy has to take the Hewitt approach, Be the best, F the rest. If he tries to fit into the system and conform to what his enemies and rivals want, it’s weakness. And be sure that all the ATP players are your enemies and rivals.Or at least 95%. The me vs the world mentality in tennis works the best. No friends on the court.

  • Chazz · February 6, 2019 at 9:10 am

    He might be on the Eubanks path. Good player but not elite. We’ll see. I’m not convinced that in the current ATP someone can be elite if they S&V on every point. I’m using my own definition of elite as top 100.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 6, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Chazz anything is possible and one player can revive serve and volley. It works when it’s applied and executed properly. None other than Svitolina proved it in her AO match point win vs Keys. If Svitolina could do it, any ATP player can do it. Equality. 🙂

  • Dan Markowitz · February 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Geez, Chazz you’re very generous when you state “elite” is top-100. Elite in my book is top 40. At this point, you’d have to put Eubanks ahead of Cressy as he’s only a year older at 22 and is more than 150 ranking spots ahead of Cressy.

    I asked Taylor Dent, really the last American male who practiced serve and volley, if he thought it can be employed on a full-time basis and he said no, but he thought it’s a good tactic once in a service game. What I don’t love about Cressy’s game is his forehand, he chips it a lot on return of serve which is what chip and charger’s do, but he also doesn’t really accelerate through it when he’s in rallies. His forehand’s got to improve, but I think he has the quickness, size and hands to make his dominant net play work.

  • Chazz · February 6, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Dan, I think top 100 is the upper echelon of pro tennis players because it shows you can compete with the big boys and you auto qualify for the main draw at slams. I’m thinking of it on a broader scale, considering the almost 2000 tennis players in the ATP.

  • Chazz · February 6, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    The main reason I categorized it that way for Cressy – is he just another guy hovering around the 150-500 ranking, or does he have the potential to get to the next level?



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