Tennis Prose



Zane Khan ATP Journey Continues

By Christopher Begg

Part 3 in our special series progression update of 19 year old American Zane Khan, currently ranked at a career high ATP 459 from coach Chris Begg…

Since springtime, Zane has spent some time improving his game, recovering from small injuries, and competing in tournaments across the globe. Our calendar has been interrupted by Covid protocols, and some tournament cancellations, so we have had to make some adjustments to his usual schedule.

In May, Zane was able to pick up another professional title in Jerusalem. Our first tournament in Israel was held in Ramat Hasharon, just on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Zane played a good couple of matches, but fell to the eventual winner in the quarterfinals, Ben Patael. At that time, this player had been in great form and caught us by surprise with his consistently high level of shot making. The first set was extremely close, with Zane 5-4 up and pushing the opponent to many deuce points on their service game, however the opponent held strong and eventually managed to break to win the first set 7-5. After this, Zane lost his way a little bit and ended up losing the second set 6-1. It was a very good lesson for Zane, and though he may lose by the same score line again in the future, I think he learned a lot from the match. Commonly, when a young player performs at a very high level but they lose a set, they can become impulsive and feel like it is impossible to turn the match around. But like all good competitors, through experience Zane is beginning to learn how to analyse and problem solve. He is starting to understand that his confidence cannot be affected by the score situation, and he must remain composed whilst relying on his problem solving skills.

In the build up to the second tournament in Jerusalem, conflict between the Hamas group and Israel broke out. We had planned for Zane to stay in free accommodation in Jerusalem, whilst I drove each day from Tel Aviv as I had much cheaper accommodation there. We loved Israel, however the cost of accommodation and living is much higher compared with the USA, so we had to try and cut the budget as much as possible. However, early in the trip, I got caught up in the bombing of Tel Aviv. One evening, I went out to get some street food, and the air raid sirens went off. I was taken inside the restaurant as Hamas missiles and the iron dome went head to head. Fortunately for me, the “Iron Dome” did its job and not much damage was done to the city.

After some restless nights of more attacks, Zane had to begin matches in Jerusalem. Fortunately after a couple of difficult matches, he was able to reach the final against Edan Leshem, the number 1 seed and a very professional player. Zane was determined to learn from the previous weeks experiences against Ben, and from the beginning he seemed to be set on producing a great performance, rather than being overly nervous about winning the match. In the end, he won 6-3 6-4, and performed exceptionally well throughout. What pleased me most was that, though he was obviously happy to win, he seemed to gain greater satisfaction from how he had performed.

After Israel, we decided to hold a training block with Zane. We spent some good time at the USTA centre in Orlando, training with Troy Hahn, and travelled to Portugal to begin his next competition block. He performed excellently and managed to win his way to his first 25k final, only dropping one set along the way. We were pleased with his overall performances, and feel he is becoming a more mature competitor. From a strategic perspective, he is beginning to understand how to control the opponent when he is in defensive positions and create chaos when he is attacking. Sadly, Zane was unable to play the final because he had a previous injury that flared up and had to withdraw at the beginning of the final (vs 409 ranked American Nicolas Moreno De Alboran).

We are excited to get back on the road again after some rehabilitation and prepare for some tournaments towards the end of the month. Our motto at the moment is, ‘improve and prove’. I know Zane is developing into a fine player, and we feel patient and ready to go through the necessary process that inevitably precedes goal achievement.

Part 2

Zane discusses hit with Federer at Miami Open

About the Author: Chris Begg is a former coach of the Rafa Nadal Academy, Sanchez-Casal Academy, and the John Newcombe Tennis Academy. Chris is also currently an official agent for the Rafa Nadal Academy. He is qualified in three different countries and is a member of the RPT, GPTCA and LTA. He is one of three coaches for Zane Khan, sharing duties with Shariq Khan and Sebastian Grosjean.

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