Tennis Prose




Nov/20

3

Facing Greatness: Jeff Salzenstein

We continue the new series “Facing Greatness” by asking former top 100 ATP pro andtwo-time Stanford All-American and NCAA National Champ Jeff Salzenstein: What were the two best performances ever played against you on a tennis court during his eleven years on the ATP World Tour?

Jeff Salzenstein: “I played Jonas Bjorkman in Miami when he was no. 4 in the world. He beat me pretty bad (62 63 in 1997 round of 64). What I was struck by is he had one of the best serve returns of all time, at least in his generation. When I was serving 125 mile an hour bombs (lefty serve too), even into his body, he was almost short-hopping my serve, taking the ball inside the baseline, short back-swing. The ball was coming back to me before I could even hit it. So I was really struck by that. I was struck by how well he picked up my serve and reflexed it or deflected it back to my feet even though I was on the baseline. How fast that ball came back to me.”

“Andreas Seppi got me good once too (at 2007 Indian Wells qualifying round 1, 62 61). I just felt like there was nowhere to go. With Seppi I felt like I couldn’t get anything by him. He played such solid defense, forehand, backhand, good mover, it was like playing a wall. So I can imagine playing Novak Djokovic who is levels better than Seppi, what that’s like to get every ball back.”

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