Tennis Prose



Biofile Wesley Koolhof Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: ATP ranking no. 17 in doubles. Winner of ten career ATP doubles titles. Career best ranking was no. 5 in 2020. Will play Miami Open doubles final with Slupski vs Isner/Hurkacz.

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 171

DOB: April 17, 1981 In: Zevenaar, Netherlands

First Tennis Memory: Hitting against the wall like I used to do (age 3-4). I used to join my parents, I’d tag along and hit on the wall. A lot of balls would go over the wall so they decided to put me into tennis.

Tennis Inspirations: It was Andre Agassi. When I was younger I liked Agassi, how he moved, how he returned, how he hit from the baseline. It was tough to watch matches on TV because it wasn’t broadcast a lot in the Netherlands, just the slams basically.

Last Book Read: I just got a dog recently. So I’m reading dog books.

Current Car: BMW.

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: I think the first match I played against Djokovic and Wawrinka at Queens four or five years ago. First match I played against a world no. 1 player.

Greatest Career Moment (so far): So far, winning London 02. Also three Masters finals – here (Miami) 2019, with Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Bryans brothers. Probably the best experience of my career so far.

Most Painful Moment: It was Monte Carlo final actually. 2019. I played with Robin Haase. Lost with match point on serve in the breaker. I screwed the point up at 9-all. It was kind of a bitter feeling.

Favorite Tournaments: So many to pick from. Each tournament has something special. I grew up playing on clay. So I think Monte Carlo is up there. Madrid has it’s things. Rome is incredible – the venue, the food. Miami is up there – my first Masters final.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate mint or pistachio. Green stuff.

Funniest players encountered: Stefanos is actually up there. I have great conversations with him on and off court.

Funny Tennis Memory: Here (Miami) 2019 with iguana on the court. Because, obviously, it was a unique thing in Key Biscayne. It happened with Tommy Haas the year before. It was crazy to see an iguana running on the grandstand.

Strangest Match: Two things. I played in Israel Futures – only Futures I won. And it was actually close to Gaza strip. And they were shooting rockets from Gaza at Israel and the other way around – while we were playing. There was one rocket flying over the court. So we saw that flying rocket shot out of the air by the Iron Dome. And playing Kitzbuhel in 2017 against Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak. We were three up in the match tiebreak. It came to 9-8, saved match point, I hit a crazy shot on 9-all and then we won 11-9. It was in Austria, stadium full, about six thousand. It was against Dominic Thiem. I think we had four or five fans. It was a crazy match.

Who Do You Love Tennis: Very good question. I used to play soccer as well but I chose tennis. Basically because it was an individual sport. You blame yourself when things go wrong and proud of yourself when things go right. Obviously with doubles there’s a partner involved. Just the game itself, playing different tournaments each week. It’s the thing I like to do.

Favorite Players To Watch: I grew up watching Roger, Rafa and Novak. Different styles now which I like to see. Feel lucky to be in this era with so many great players playing.

Embarrassing Career Memory: One shot in London, me and Nikola Mektic. I think we had an easy point on top of the net – and no one said anything. So we both went for the ball. It was the easiest point you could play. And we both hit the ball and it went bottom of the net. It’s a good thing we didn’t play with crowd there [smiles].

Favorite Artists: I like music from the 80s and 90s. I would say Coldplay.

Best You Ever Felt On Court: I have a couple of them in London in the Finals. You try to get in the zone as much as possible, playing great tennis. But there was one Group match vs Ram/Salisbury in London where we won the set 6-0, me and Mektic together didn’t make any mistakes. I would say London there was a couple of very good matches where I felt in the zone.

People Qualities Most Admired: Honest I think is the most important. Humor – I need humor, being open. Honesty by far is no. 1. People to depend on.

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