Sep/19

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Biofile Tommy Paul Interview

Status: ATP no. 92.

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 170

DOB: May 17, 1997 In: Voorhees, NJ

Tennis Inspirations: Andy Roddick – straight up, favorite player.

First Tennis Memory: Probably at the Athletic Club Courtside in Greenshoro, NC where I grew up, I saw all the old people out there playing doubles. I was like, all right, I’m gonna get out there and do that. And then I remember trying to play out there – it didn’t really go too great the first time (age six).

Nicknames: Tommy, T-Paul.

Greatest Sports Moment: Geez… I don’t know. I’ve had a lot of moments where I was pretty happy on the court. I can’t really pinpoint greatest moment. I just enjoy being out on the court.


Most Painful Moment: I don’t know, I’ve had some losses. Definitely had some losses. Maybe like two summers ago. I played a few Futures and I lost like first round on the Futures. That was coming back from one of my injuries. That was pretty painful to me in my career.


First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: Paul Goldstein, right here at qualifying at US Open.


Last Book Read: I actually read Tim Tebow’s book not that long ago. I have trouble finishing books. I probably read like three books at a time. But I’ll read about twenty pages and then I’ll switch to the next book [laughs]. I’m not too good at finishing one.

Funniest Players Encountered: All my friends are really funny – Reilly Opelka, Taylor Fritz, all my friends that we hang out with.

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: I have no clue [smiles], really no clue.

Strangest Match: I played Denis Kudla and we played a three set match – 62 06 60 – pretty strange match.

Why Do You Love Playing Tennis: I’ve always loved it since I was little. I’ve loved how competitive it is and one versus one, gotta find a way to win.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Vanilla.

Funny Tennis Memory: We have fun on court in practice, I can’t really name one time.

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: Obviously, we’ve swung and missed at a couple of balls. Probably swinging and missing at a ball and got really embarrassed.

Best You Ever Felt On Court: At some point in the DC (Citi Open) tournament two years ago in 2017. I beat (Casper) Ruud and then (Lucas) Pouille and then (Gilles) Muller and then I was up a set and a break on (Kei) Nishikori. Blew it. Ended up losing that match [laughs]. That was kinda tough. That was some of my best tennis. I think.

Favorite Sport Outside Tennis: Watching? NFL football, play – basketball.

People Qualities Most Admired: Funny, (I) like funny people, sarcastic. I think sarcasm is so funny. And also, I like when they can be serious (at this moment of the interview Alexander Zverev walks by and silently sticks his hand out to fist bump Paul) when they need to be and also can go in there and not be crazy all the time.

69 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Paul making his moves, into top 100 now and playing Cary NC Challenger this week. Ann Grossman thinks he has more potential than Fritz and Opelka.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 10, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Anyone who says that doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I watched Paul play both his matches in the Qualis. He lost in 2 Nd round to player Brooksby Jenson beat in 3rd round. Paul has foot speed, but no weapons. He’s a slightly bigger version of Noah Rubin.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Glad to see T. Paul do well. Seriously, I encourage everyone to become fans of less appreciated players. Giving Nadal another fan doesn’t help Nadal, but it would boost someone like Cirstea or T. Paul. Or anyone in qualies for that matter.

    Medvedev just proved that crowd support matters. So did Nadal. So be a fan! They’ll generally respond with better results on tour and your fandom won’t be wasted.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    As for who’s better than who, I’ll let them duke it out. Saw Opelka, Fritz, Tiafoe play. The Opelka fan on TP is right, he has a huge serve as well as a decent baseline game. That helped players like Karlovic and Opelka has a similar kind of desire.

    Fritz has the big results this year. That’s just fact, Fritz won tournaments or made finals. It’s a big step.

    I’d be glad to see Paul rocket up the rankings. Wish he’d work with Higueras too, like Ginepri did to Max the game.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Am down on Tiafoe. Just see the same game year after year. Points to how hard it is for players to upgrade their games. Whether because they are cheap (eg coach wants a raise), stubborn (play my game), don’t put in the physio (not interested, don’t believe it helps, etc), don’t get the mental support (sports psych), don’t improve, don’t scout…

    On and on. I’ll let it stand this group repeats the mistakes of Sock, Johnson, DY, Harrison…never ending loop.

    Hope they rise to the level of at least Isner and Querrey, who to their credit achieved more with their Wimbeldon semifinals than Blake, Fish, Dent etc.

  • Jon King · September 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Andrew Miller, its a bit of a stretch to compare ‘fandom’ support of Nadal and even Medvedev with lesser known guys. Nadal and Medvedev are super elite talents who rocketed through futures and challengers despite no one being in the stands. Medvedev won several matches at the Open with the crowd against him. I know the latest thing is calling for support of lesser knowns. The new ITF rule changes, the facebook site to change the rules, Noah Rubin’s behind the racquet stuff. But its not going to change a thing. The top few guys will get all the fame and lots of the money, then another 100 will make a decent living in tennis. The rest are cannon fodder. Harsh but true. If Noah Rubin quits tennis, if Paul gives up the grind, just like Deiton Baughman did after getting to 340…there will be 2000 more guys who will take their place….and whose parents will foot the bills for them to ‘go pro’. We hire hitters for our elite juniors and get freakin amazing players for $35/hour, guys who have been top 300. Tennis economics are brutal. So another few people being fans of Tommy Paul will not give him more weapons or change his tennis fate at all. Sure a bit of crowd support could juice Nadal and give him energy to fight through a 5 setter against another elite player….but thats totally different than a couple old ladies yelling go Tommy at a challengers in South Dakota or a few guys liking him on instagram. Tennis will always be about the top 10-20 players and elite talent is what makes them because super hard work is the minimum entry point to the top 500.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Jon, no reason for me to defend the indefensible. I can’t speak for the players. But I am convinced they care. Most matches even on tour aren’t played on a centre court – they’re on outer courts. Very good, top fifty players, on outer courts.

    If fans show up on those outer courts, they definitely add to the atmosphere there. We just saw two weeks in which a player who a crowd into a frenzy and beat players that on paper didn’t seem possible.

    I’ve been to enough matches to see a player benefit from some crowd support. And I think if more people show up to cheer on a player on an outer court, that player may respond better because they are playing for someone. Not just for the PB&J, but for something else.

    As for players and where they get their money, I don’t know each player’s situation. But I think they could all usr some more fans in seats. And because we all know what Nadal plays like, why not support another player also. Your cheering will probably go a lot farther than on stadium court.

  • Leif Wellington Haase · September 10, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Jon King is certainly right about the economics of modern tennis and fandom…it isn’t even the top 10-20 players that drive ticket sales, but 1-5, which is a perpetual challenge for lower tier tournaments that aren’t drawing on an intense local fan base.

    However, this will always be the case if tennis is being marketed as entertainment, which makes it similar to other individual sports or indeed just about every artistic endeavor in a global marketplace. These tend to be virtual winner-take all phenomena. Like Highlander, “there can only be one!” which means that the perceived best flute player or tenor or classical guitarist in the world is a phenomenon while the tenth best struggles for recognition.

    However, if a sport is authentically part of a local, national, or regional culture being a fan of a lesser-known player is completely natural.

    In fact, most of the world’s best players emerge from such cultures—in all sports, not just tennis. If you pinpoint where the parents of today’s top 100 men’s players were born, you’ll find a cluster with a 200 mile radius centered somewhere in the middle of Europe (roughly near Federer’s birthplace) that encompasses most of Germany, northern Italy, northern Spain, much of Eastern Europe, and the former Balkans.

    In each of those places there is a longstanding tradition of town versus town tennis rivalries along with dozens of low purse money tournaments that lead naturally into the full slate of lower tier ATP events.

    Pursuing tennis is a kind of apprenticeship and tradecraft, and if you’ve played for your town against its neighbor you’ve experienced a kind of pressure that makes the pro tour look manageable. And the local heroes of these crucibles earn a kind of organic fandom that is different from rooting for someone, almost at random, who isn’t going to be #1 or even top 50 in the world.

    This is true of hockey in Canada, golf in South Korea, fiddle playing in Cape Breton, distance running in Kenya, and hundreds of other niche cultures that end up with an outsized influence when such sporting or artistic pursuits go global. (The closest analogy in the US is probably basketball, in which New York playground legends like Earl “The Goat” Manigault and Herman “the Helicopter” Knowings had street cred that matched that of NBA players.)

    And while it is impossible to replicate these kind of cultures entirely (which, parenthetically, is why Jurgen Klinsmann failed as coach of the US men’s national soccer team, and just decided in effect to select Germans with American passports) the kind of Oracle series that Larry Ellison is now funding in the US is on the right track, It would be even better if it coincided with a revival of the low money pro tournaments that used to exist in California and elsewhere in greater numbers. And which, in turn, could piggyback on USTA events that not only matched players of similar abilities but club versus club and town versus town at all levels, so that the survivors of these pyramids were already bringing a built-in fan base with them.

    In any case, what I’m trying to do here is to sketch out a scenario in which a “low-ranked” player wasn’t having to draw fans who are, in effect, pitying his predicament (as Rubin’s show leads to), but celebrating his genuinely remarkable accomplishments. This can take place when sports or art isn’t viewed as a triumph in a global meritocracy but as an individual fulfillment of an organic cultural tradition.

    Just in passing, if I’m not the Opelka enthusiast referred to earlier I’ve been on his bandwagon for many, many years, as past comments on this site suggest. It is incredibly hard to change one’s game but Reilly has done so over time, along with every one of the young American players. Tiafoe had genuinely unorthodox strokes, especially his serve, and he’s modified them to good effect even to reach the top 40, and while I’m also a doubter that he’ll get to the very top he hasn’t been on autopilot by any means. Fritz’s backhand is better, still not good enough. Isner practically built an entire ground game from scratch in order to reach his top ranking, and I know that the top young Americans are trying to emulate him.

    The challenger that Paul won last week in New Haven was closer in quality to a 250 and I’m not going to sleep on a guy that took a set from Thiem on clay, even on an off day…Paul has a big forehand in addition to speed and decent size and court sense…after Opelka I’d rank him the most likely to win a Master’s or 500 level event of the younger Americans.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Tennis about the top 20? Dunno about that one. Since when? Most tournaments don’t get the top twenty – for business reasons it might be prohibitive (see Zverev, who apparently has a 400K appearance fee for regular tournaments. Another reason not to support this guy – your ticket price is higher to see a player who’s good but who extorted the tournament and made your ticket price jump).

    But tennis isn’t about the top 20. Medvedev wasn’t too 20 when I saw him. He was pretty spoiled on the court, but he was also very good. Everyone was cheering for his next gen USA opponent.

    But if it was only about the top 20, why even see that match? I also caught another former top fifty player that fell on hard times and a second former top fifty player working their way back. Both won. For one of them I was asked if I were a coach because I was taking notes.

    Anyways one of those guys went on to be a major first week story at the US Open. One of the girls made the quarters at the Open this year.

    Tennis is a sport that’s always in flux. A reason the big guys have stayed on top of it in part is because they have adapted as the sport changes. Such as Federer’s scouting with his team, or use of analytics. Not just because they are better, but because their competition keeps changing.

    If this were a sport where there wasn’t a player moving up and one moving down etc then honestly we wouldn’t watch. It wouldn’t be worth it for Dan and Scoop to scout the US open qualies from a year ago to watch this year’s women’s champ, who I hardly heard of before Indian Wells this year.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Reading Leif’s comments is an education.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Paul and New Haven, first – that’s a heck of a way to respond to a qualies loss in the US Open after being on the edge of direct entry. The ideal response would have been to qualify for a US Open main draws spot through qualies, but this works out well and should get the bitter taste of losing qualies and losing a chance for the first round because of dubious reasons.

    I’m sorry to keep putting players like Fritz, Tiafoe, Opelka down. They are good players. Opelka is indeed formidable, just breaks down too often. I question the strategies of Fritz and Tiafoe, and am surprised especially that Fritz anticipation is worse than it should be at this stage. But Fritz hired good people and maybe Tiafoe will be fine with his brother now playing futures etc. I’m surprised Tiafoe moved from Florida for his training.

    I do like the Paul game. He’s got a clay mentality.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Andrew is right, crowd support makes a difference. It can change a match. Every smart player tries to attract fans to support them because the smart player knows the value of crowd support can be uplifting when needed and make the difference. Players like Ljubicic, Nalbandian, Berdych failed to get major crowd support, with it they could maybe have won more or won a major. Players like Hrbaty and Schnur paid fans in tickets to cheer them on. Those are two that I know of, there probably are many more.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 10, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Tennis does have it’s benefits though. I don’t know the deals the top junior basketball players are getting, but my son, who’s not even yet a top nationals player, just had Dunlop send him a slew of racquets to demo. If he likes one, he’ll get three free racquets, a bag, a reel of strings and other perks including a trip to IMG before Eddie Herr in November where all his expenses will be paid.

    Where do you get that kind of largesse in other sports as a junior?

  • Jeff · September 10, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    I think Tommy Paul has a bright future and is the best young American outside of Fritz. I think Tiafoe has stalled and won’t amount to more than a top-20 career and maybe one Slam semifinal if he hits the jackpot. His game just isn’t developing. Not sold on Opelka either.

    I go on record as saying Fritz will make a Slam final and Tommy Paul will make a QF.

  • Jeff · September 10, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Fritz by the way replaces Anderson in the Laver Cup. So it is Isner, Fritz, Sock, Shapo, Raonic and Kyrgios who will try to lead World to glory.

    As I said, the ATP will in no way suspend Kyrgios from the Laver Cup otherwise I will travel to NY and run naked across Flushing Meadows at next year’s Open. Not going to happen.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 12:49 am

    Glad to see Paul doing well. Just watched the highlights of his match with Giron in New Haven, which were pretty extensive. Giron had a better looking game, NCAA champ! But Paul was the much better player, hitting more unpredictable shots, a harder ball, with greater consistency and more emotion. Giron made mistake after mistake from the backcourt, and could from my eye use either a few days at the backboard or many hours on the ball machine to firm up that wing.

    Yeah I like Paul. His game needs work for sure, but he is playing well. He could use more strategies, but he has some good combos that work well and that are hard to see as an opponent. So far I like the Paul game best of the younger U.S. men’s players.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 1:02 am

    Not sure why Tiafoe’s game is off. I think it’s the strategy side. He’s very fast and has for years had a nice ability to mix things up – play a nice drop shot etc. Nice SV instincts.

    Watching his Zverev match at US Open, his forehand falls short and gave Zverev a lot of time to wind up and crank forehands. That didn’t work well, even if this went five sets. That’s five sets against Zverev, who’s not good at slams.

    Tiafoe forehand has some issues to my eye. His backhand used to be the weakness but it actually looks much more solid. His serve is fine, but the placement needs work. Overall Tiafoe is fun. Competitive, fast.

    Game needs work. I’d get a forehand coach on it again and get him on a ball machine so that he can get some length on it, just fell way too short. I’d have him study Pat Rafter to learn how to patrol the net and baseline better.

    I don’t know how high he can go. Depends on whether he fixes some things.

  • Jon King · September 11, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Jeff, I see things the opposite. Opelka has an elite weapon in his serve, Tiafoe has tons of pure talent so is always a danger. Paul has no weapons besides being a pretty fast guy, so his upside is quite limited.

  • Jon King · September 11, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Dan, we are quite familiar with the junior tennis packages. Dunlop and the others will give perks to juniors, sometimes its just the noisiest parents who ask for the most, get the most, other times its based on rankings. The perks can be all over the map. Be careful though, we have seen them give an initial package, then rope the kids into buying ‘discounted’ packages long term where you actually pay close to retail for things. The same trick is used by IMG. When you go there you will talk to parent after parent whose kid is getting a ‘discount’. An insider we know told us that the discount is actually full price because everyone gets that discount. He said 4-5 kids at any given time are getting a full ride and those are the kids they believe will make it. The rest pay the bills with their ‘discounted’ rate. When you mentioned Dunlop and IMG it got my attention because they are 2 of the biggest at roping people in. During the free trip to IMG you will be offered the ‘discounted’ rate for your kid to train there. Been down that road multiple times with kids we train with. If your kid is truly one they believe in then Dunlop and IMG will not charge you a dime….but if they offer you the ‘discount’, then not so much.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 11, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Yes, Jon, I don’t know the full dimensions of this deal with Dunlop, but it seems that Callum is getting the racquets sent to him, Fed Ex, because his UTR ranking is a 10 which I’m told by the Dunlop rep is high for a 13 year old. I know that “discounted” packages for juniors often are high as Babolat, the racquet my son has used since he picked up a racquet at age 2, has also sponsored Callum, but I buy his racquets from a local tennis shop as I get a better rate than Babolat’s discounted one.

    The Dunlop deal sounds kosher because my wife and I met the rep in Ft. Lauderdale this summer during the 14’s National Clay Courts. It’s three free racquets etc., but I know from having hit with Dunlop’s in the past, it’s a very different racquet than the Babolat so I don’t think my son will like it. The trip to IMG is intriguing; I’m told it’s free and we just have to get Callum to Florida for it. It’s supposed to be right before Eddie Herr and so it’ll be stocked with some of the best junior players in the world. We’ll see; he probably can’t go to that either as it’s during a school week and we head to Chicago the week after for National Indoors.

    The dilemma I have with Callum is scholarships at training facilities. We’ve had one at McEnroe’s up to this year and then they gave him less of one for this year even though he just reached the Round of 32 in the Hard Court Nationals, one of only 8 13 year old’s in the country to do so. But we’re really moving on because we’ve found a coach who’s working with the very best teenage boys in our area and who Callum likes. We will have to pay a full rate even though another training facility is offering Callum a full scholarship, but then you have to weigh whether that facility and coach is going to help Callum as much as the place and coach he likes and will be motivated to train at.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2019 at 9:07 am

    The question about Tiafoe is, Is he getting sufficient coaching from his buddy? A young guy who never played pro tennis, who is more of a hang out buddy type. Tiafoe made his best progress with Ginepri but has since stagnated since firing Ginepri for the buddy. The talent and potential are there in Tiafoe, he just needs a better coach with the intricate pro game experience. Buddies and yes men don’t produce career best results.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 9:10 am

    How did Ginepri make a US Open semifinal? Ginepri was probably the least touted of the Fish-Roddick-Blake-Dent-Ginepri etc. He had a complete game – that was it!

    And, under Higueras, training and desire.

    So, question the heart of these guys. The question isn’t what’s your weapon – if that were the question Karlovic would be hall of fame, because he has the best serve in history.

    I’d question what’s in their heart and go from there. Medvedev isn’t “more skilled” – many players hit a beautiful ball. Just like Cirstea isn’t more skilled than GenieB. And GenieB isn’t (that much) less skilled than some top thirty players.

    Medvedev conjured up will and determination in the US Open final. The two set comeback was all heart and desire. Magnificent playing, but what’s the source of it? Nadal was shocked because he’s not used to seeing his own heart and desire reflecting back on him from someone not named Djokovic. Yet that’s what he saw and it scared him.

    So I don’t put it past other players to use the same tools that are readily available. I will always support a player that puts it all out there and finds more in the tank.

    I think Paul has some inner fire. I hope he does well. Winning a Challenger after his disappointing US Open qualies and the tournament stupidity is a way of saying, “I won’t need any wildcards soon.” I hope he pushes himself for Australian direct entry.

  • Jon King · September 11, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Dan, you are definitely much better informed than most tennis parents. I agree 100%, its about the proper training environment for each specific kid. We are surrounded by junior tennis down here in FL, so many academies, so many private coaches. Our experience with IMG is that Nick B. saw my girl at an event and pulled her aside for a hour private session. He then had his manager Steve set arrange for us to go to Bradenton for training, all free. But after 2 weeks she hated it, they tried to change her style, the kids were ruthless. Great for some, not for her. So I took back over the coaching and its working great for us. We train at a park with courts hidden in the woods….the last 2 mornings its just been my daughter and I, and Venus Williams and her new coach one court over working all by themselves. Just the 4 of us in the entire park, sweating like crazy in 95 degree humidity, and enjoying every minute of it!

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Can’t vouch for Tiafoe’s buddy. But that’s on the player. Apparently he also did a whirlwind trip from NC (Winston Salem) to NYC a Sunday before the ATP event to do a GQ issue, which his agent recommended. Tiafoe lucked out as his first two opponents retired in their matches, so the GQ gambit paid off, literally.

    As of now and I say this respectfully, the players are making bad choices when they opt for fanfare over working on their game. It shows: Tiafoe’s ranking as of now rests on a few decent results this summer, but if you look more closely at a result such as Winston Salem you see that Hurkasz, Tiafoe’s first real match that tournament, tagged Tiafoe 6-1 in the third set. This is after winning the second set tiebreak 7-1 Hurkasz. US Open, Tiafoe lucks out again as Karlovic retires down two sets. Then he gets Zverev, who hasn’t got the hang of these slam things, in the fifth set. And despite bravado, Tiafoe still falls in round two and Zverev ends up in round four, looks around, and sees only De Minaur, Medvedev, Berretini around his age and says, “I beat Tiafoe, Tsitsipas isn’t here, Fritz isn’t here…I’m doing well…”

    Bottom line: not a great summer for Tiafoe. In fact, he didn’t get to a QF until Winston Salem, where he won by player retirements and then got beaten badly when it counted by Hurkasz.

    This is the basis for firing a weak coach. Or for adding to the coaching staff. Tiafoe has plenty of income to do this with an estimated $2million US per year.

    If the player is complacent then they look at the summer and their ATP rank and say I’m top fifty and I was in GQ, I pushed Zverev, last year’s ATP finals champion to five sets and could have beaten him…

    If objective it’s why did Zverev win? How are opponents picking apart my game? What new strategies do I add? What’s my schedule like and who should I work with to shore up a few things? Should I reach out to (X player) to train?

    Tiafoe is fun. He could be a Pat Rafter type of player that opponents fear at net and then work on his baseline game so that they feel they have no options.

    Just that no matter how one looks at it Tiafoe’s results this summer where US players make their money and save their year on hardcourts, Tiafoe’s summer was bad.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Shouldn’t Tiafoe’s agent pull a Nadal Costa Moya here?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Medvedev is focused in the right way, on tennis, on winning. Not on being famous or extra curricular activities or social media.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Doubt Team Tiafoe wants to pay for a real coach, they think they can do it on their own. With a coach of their own race. Don’t forget the logic used for rejecting Ryan Harrison’s wedding invite. “Don’t want to be around all those white people.”

  • Dan Markowitz · September 11, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Got to think that was a joke Scoop. Even if Tiafoe meant it, I don’t think he’d say or text this to Harry, a guy’s who touchy about black folks to say the least. Tennis players are always joking about things, especially about race which is usually a loaded subject in the white/Asian/Indian/and very very few blacks world of male pro tennis or junior tennis.

    Jon,

    That’s pretty cool you teach your daughter. I still get on the court and work on a few things with my son, but I can’t give him a good hit for the most part these days. You don’t work in practice partners with your daughter? Funny thing is, yesterday I’m playing a three person one on one on one basketball pickup game with my son and his friend. And because I’m 6-2 (really more like 6 now) and I played a little college ball, and Callum and his friend are more like 5-5, I destroyed both of them. But Callum who’s so competitive walked off the court near the end and wouldn’t let me savor the victory, saying to his friend, ” I can beat my dad in tennis 6-0, 6-1.”

    Even though he’s my own son and I see every match he plays, I still don’t realize how ultra-competitive he is when it comes to sports.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Dan, how on earth can you say Harrison is touchy on blacks? Total nonsense and fake news. Harrison invited Tiafoe to his wedding and was turned down because Tiafoe said he wasn’t very thrilled about being around all those white people. 100% fact, 100% legit source.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Harrison: sub 300 ranking. Guess that lawsuit stuff is working out really well for these guys.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 11:03 am

    re: weddings, don’t care. At his ranking, Harrison is at a career low, he has a lot on his mind. Sub 300. That’s not just bad: it’s worse than his career low. He should take some solace from fact Koepfer, who beat him in USO qualies, had an excellent tournament. But if that’s the positive takeaway, it’s not much of a consolation.

    I’d encourage him to maintain stable coaching. Something goes off the rails with these players that they can’t keep coaches that help them improve.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Harrison has to be at a point of massive confusion, he’s worked, he’s tried to improve but the expected positive results have not come. Two years ago Harrison was 40 in the world. Expecting to go higher. He’s won three singles matches on the year in ATP. Year started in Brisbane losing to Kyrgios 76 57 76. Then lost first round again to Nishioka 64 62 in Sydney. Beat Vesely in three sets in AO then lost to Medvedev in 2R 63 63 63. Beat Polansky at NY Open but lost second round to Lorenzi 64 in third. Qualified in Acapuloco but lost 1R to Stan 64 76. I saw him lose 61 63 in first round of qualies at Miami to Mikael Ymer. He was 104 then. Ranking crashed after losing in ATL qualies to Kevin King. Had to retire to Sarkissian in Aptos then the US Open qualies loss to Koepfer, tough draw, and his ranking is in shambles. Gonna be a tough road back.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Harrison getting tough matches is a sign of a low ranking. When a ranking isn’t high enough and we all know this, the player faces very good opponents in early rounds. When players don’t make hay early enough with a good ranking (see Tiafoe, that top fifty ranking will drop significantly soon!), the ranking starts falling and a player faces better ranked players too early, often lose, and that result decks their ranking again. Suddenly the player is out of the top hundred in no time flat.

    DY put it best when he was aiming for the main draws of regular tournaments. He won challengers and made finals to get that. Its the same for all players.

    And it’s a warning to Opelka, Tiafoe, etc…they aren’t like Querrey with a tried and true game that allows him to weather ranking drops. His game is well considered and he’s always been a better player than any player listed here in this comment – his forehand may be wobbly one match but not for ten tournaments in a row, he’s too solid.

    Other players have to beat players below them once they are up there in the top hundred. That’s crucial and necessary. When they don’t they fall out of the top hundred.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Malivai Washington great interview July 11, 2016 by Tim Casey, on men’s tennis today and his historic Wimbledon run 20 years ago. Such good points on why he made the Wimbledon final against Krajicek and how he won his semifinal on Todd Martin.

    Basically: Washington wanted the other player to earn the match when he was down 1-5 in the fifth set. He decided he would make the other player prove he deserved to be in the final. That was amazing, and it’s what Medvedev did in the final on Sunday versus Nadal, making Nadal “win it”.

    Mal Washington was a special player. One guy I’d look for at tournaments. Also Rostsgno because he could SV. Ivanisevic because of the service motion and his backhand if you can believe it.

    Washington hit so hard. He was similar in some ways to Agassi, just not as consistent.

    No one talks Mal Washington. He was really good. He’s also proof that the 1990s tennis was very healthy and strong.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    David Wheaton, another solid player. It’s not just me, Wheaton, Washington – these guys were better than anyone but Roddick of the U.S. players since Roddick’s retirement. They had better form and they were better players. Today’s players should learn from them. They won’t even know who these guys are.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Dan, it is interesting that your son has a new coach. Am looking forward to the next installment of his tennis story.

  • Jon King · September 11, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Dan, we hire hitters from area college teams for the most part. The skill level of these guys is amazing.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 11, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Yes, we’re hoping for a big year. What I like about this new coach so far, and I won’t say his name yet until our relationship hopefully deepens, is that he’s got the knowledge, the enthusiasm and he knows how to make it fun for the teens without sugar-coating it.

    He told Callum, “You’re winning a lot right now, but the goal is not to win these tournaments when you’re 13. The goal is to develop your game. Always make progress. You’re winning a lot right now because you’re a good competitor. At the next level, your technique, strategy and work ethic all have to improve for you to continue working. I’ve got a waiting list of kids for lessons so if you don’t work hard, I’m going to kick you out.”

    Callum needs to hear that. At McEnroe’s, in my opinion, they let the juniors get away with too much: bad behavior; goofing around and not treating each other respect at times. It’s an interesting dynamic because I’ve always looked for the program or pro that has the best players in it. I want Callum practicing day in and day out with the best players for the most part.

    But this coach says, “If the focus is always ‘better competition,’ then lots of times there’s better results in the short term, but the long term suffers. It’s partially why you see so many young high-ranked promising juniors go nowhere in the pros.”

  • Jon King · September 11, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Dan, I really like the sound of your new coach. So many kids win early by either starting earlier or showing up to the 10s and 12s with a hitting coach, speed coach, basically a team thanks to wealthy parents or maturing earlier, some of the kids have a foot in height on others their age, or by being very competitive and fiesty….or sadly in S. Florida by cheating a ton. But with each level things even out. At that point the technique, game plan, long term weapon development, mental strength, start to matter more.

    One of our first insights into elite tennis was when USTA High Performance was at Evert’s academy in Boca and my girl was just starting tennis. We rented a condo for a few months just across from the academy. The ‘elite’ kids would act so rude to everyone, leave their trash all over the courts, act like royalty. And they were winning in juniors. But we would see them go out for their morning run and most would dog it and barely jog. Fast forward and not a single one of the 16 kids there back then ever made a dime in the pros and only 5 got full scholarships, despite all their junior success.

    Just down the road a few years later at a local park we started to see several kids training. They were respectful and the coach made them pick up their own balls and they never left a speck of trash. They would go full bore in every drill, even doing extra ladder drills without the coach saying anything. One was a very young Cory Gauff, another was the coaches daughter Hurricane Black who is doing quite well also.

    Discipline and a long term attention to the process is critical.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Dan, your son’s coach sounds like he is giving excellent advice.

    Jon, your comparison of the kids at the academy and those at the local park is interesting. I bet those kids at the park, even the ones who did not become good players, really wanted to be there, and that made all the difference.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    I will post this here, because the Bianca thread is so old now.

    Bianca had a press conference in Toronto today. It sounds like she knows she has to work hard and continue to improve her game. And she definitely wants more Slam titles.

    “There’s always room for improvement in anything, so I’m just going to keep improving my game,” she said. “I think the shot selection part will definitely be an emphasis and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing on the mental side of things and get stronger physically as much as I can – I think that’s a crucial part of the sport too.”

    “I’m just going to keep striving and hopefully win many more grand slams from now on.”

    But there were some perks to being the USO champ. She was very excited to get messages from LeBron James and Drake.

    Catherine, Bianca had a shout out to her mother, then Coco, and then her father. Her poor dad!

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    My day at one of the world’s most serious academies: “Hit Harder!!!”

    That was it. Hit Harder. Nice guy too. Definitely a former challenger player.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    If Andreescu doesn’t motivate the Genie nothing will. She’s about to get rained on by endorsement deals in every direction. I wonder what her example as a very young champion does in Canada. Canada for five years now has had two very noteworthy and young female players, both of whom made big waves in the sport. As one’s star has faded the other was all fireworks. I can’t imagine athletes aren’t seriously looking at tennis and saying one day I want to be like Bianca.

    Just can’t. She’s a very young champ. She doesn’t look superhuman. She looks like a teenager until she’s on the court beating everyone silly.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Andreescu, youngest slam champ in 13 years on women’s side. That kind of mark gets kids attention.

    Tennis I think was pretty darn big in the states in the late 80s and early 90s. Chang’s win at the French caught people’s attention here and of course the sport was already popular because of McEnroe and Connors and other bad boy tennis icons, as well as Borg because he was an icon of sorts. I think.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    I don’t think Genie lacks motivation. I think she lacks a good tennis game. Her style of hit hard and flat and aim for the lines only works when she is “on.” I just finished the Sharapova autobiography, and even Maria said she made some changes in her game in recent years, such as adding some topspin.

    Genie withdrew from the tourneys in Asia, and will play ITF events in North America this fall. Her current ranking is No. 149, so she would have to play qualies for the tourneys in Asia.

    Bianca said she has been getting messages from people saying they are now watching tennis, or playing it, because of her.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Hartt, that competitive spirit we saw back in 2014 kind of died. I often wonder what keeps players excited. For Nadal, Djokovic, Federer it’s clear – it’s the competition and I think also the absolute joy from winning at tennis highest level. They cry every time they win a slam.

    For Kyrgios, I think he likes beating the top players at tournaments where he can beat them (even as he beat Nadal at Wimbledon a while back now), and I think his likes the stature he has in Australia. But with De Minaur about to establish himself as Australia’s top player, and sometimes he is Australia’s top male player (Barry is the top player of course!) Kyrgios finds he can no longer coast. He can slack but not that much.

    Here in the states, I think Capriati got back on her feet because she was motivated by the Williams sisters. In 1998 Capriati finished the year outside the top hundred. A year later she was top 25, then kept moving up and, as 12th seed, won the Australian in 2001 (Wikipedia!). It’s really shocking, she went six years withour winning a title (1993-1999) and then couldn’t get enough of winning soon thereafter. At the 2000 Australian, first semifinal since 1991 at any slam. Which is crazy, because that means her epic 1991 semifinal with Seles was her last slam semifinal until her recovery (she would do pretty well, just never threaten for slams).

    My point is Capriati saw the rise of these young talented players that began winning the biggest tournaments. I don’t know but I think that lit a fire under her. I wasn’t sure if Capriati could do it – in part because I thought the women’s game had evolved and that Capriati all of the sudden didn’t seem as formidable. Other players hit nearly as hard or harder in the Williams. Her serve was still good but other players could do the same thing.

    But what did I know? The Capriati serve was cooking again and even she seemed slow her footwork remained excellent.

    I look at other players and always think, you know, never underestimate someone’s heart when they commit themselves to something.

    The problem with what I’m saying here is that Capriati isn’t a normal player. She’s was a lot stronger than most players will ever be on tour. Her serve today would still cause opponents problems and I don’t doubt that she’d be top five because of her game and competitive nature if her heart was in it. Given how strong her technique was and her competitiveness and overall game, she needed a trainer and a positive coach and matches, and her chances went way up that she’d go deep at tournaments. If anything she wouldn’t stay outside a triple digit ranking for long.

  • Andrew Miller · September 11, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Hartt, interesting Andreescu is the reason some people play tennis. It’s a big deal she won, for Canada most of all because now it will be well can any guy do this on the men’s side? For young Canadian girls because Who will be Canada’s next great fenale champion? Exciting times for Canada.

    As for Andreescu and her immediate slam future I have no idea. I’m glad she’s motivated. So is everyone else. That X has become real and next season her competitors will show up in force! They did for Osaka. For Barry. For Kerber. They will for Andreescu too. She should take it as a compliment, she changed the game.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Bouchard has game but her head is elsewhere. Fame, fun, skimpy outfits, attention are too high priority and interfere with her career as a player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Will see if Andreescu can handle the loneliness at the top. Or if she wants to fit in and keep her friends.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    The Toronto Star had an editorial cartoon showing a little girl watching Bianca on TV, kissing the USO trophy. The little girl says that she can do that too.

    Bianca had a long interview on a popular sports program. One of the hosts mentioned the cartoon, and showed a photo of his 7-year-old daughter watching Bianca on TV, just like the girl in the cartoon. Her father said she’d never shown any interest in tennis before, but was excited to see Bianca in the final.

    It’s impossible to overestimate the impact Bianca will have on Canadian tennis. with people watching it or playing it.

    They gave Bianca a gift basket that included a T shirt with Coco’s face on it and a couple gifts for Coco. Of course she was at the studio with Bianca’s parents.

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