Tennis Prose



Gulbis Earns Delray Beach Wildcard

JANUARY 30, 2020, DELRAY BEACH, FL – Today, the Delray Beach Open by ( announced the singles qualifying field for their ATP 250 event and that two-time singles Champion Ernests Gulbis will be receiving a wild card into the Feb. 15-16 16 player draw.
Capturing his first singles title in Delray Beach in 2010 (defeating Iv Karlovic), Gulbis (No. 256) won his second title in 2013 after advancing through the qualifying rounds and defeating James Blake, Tommy Haas and Sam Querrey en route to the finals. In addition, Gulbis has won four other ATP titles and reached a career-high ranking of No. 10 in June 2014 after defeating Roger Federer in five sets to advance to the semifinals of Roland Garros.
“Our fans love the brand of tennis and character Ernests brings to the courts and to the event,” said Tournament Director, Mark Baron. “He’s always been recognized for his outrageous ability and athleticism and for him to have put it all together here, twice, we’re proud of that. We’d love to see his name on the trophy again.”
In addition to Gulbis, up-and-coming ATP player Cameron Norrie ranked No. 62 is leading the field of singles qualifiers in Delray Beach who will be competing for one of the four main draw spots available. Reaching a career-high ranking of No. 41 in 2019, Norrie boasts wins over John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.
Delray Beach’s complete qualifying acceptance list includes the following players: Alex Bolt (AUS), Marius Copil (ROU), Taro Daniel (JPN), Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP), Marcos Giron (USA), Emilio Gomez (ECU), Denis Istomin (UZB), Jason Jung (TPE), Mitchell Krueger (USA), Henri Laaksonen (SUI), Paolo Lorenzi (ITA), Cameron Norrie (GBR), Danilo Petrovic (SRB), and Bernard Tomic (AUS). The tournament still holds two wildcards and two special exempts that will round out the 32-player ATP 250 main event.
The 10-day Delray Beach ATP Tour stop will open Valentine’s Day weekend with an ATP Champions Tour legends team event and a special exhibition match starring teen tennis star Coco Gauff. The Team Europe vs Team World legends match-up will star David Ferrer, James Blake, Tommy Haas, Marcos Baghdatis and other fan-favorites.
On President’s Day Monday, Feb. 17, the game’s reigning stars take center court commencing the ATP 250 matches. Fans can book now for the tournament’s “Super Tuesday” (Feb. 18) featuring Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios and Milos Raonic while the winningest team of all-time Bob and Mike Bryan will be making their final Tour appearance in Delray Beach starting on Wednesday night, Feb. 19.
Whether you’re spending all 10 days at “The Beach” or a few preferred sessions, the tournament offers a perfect ticket for everyone. Individual tickets for all sessions are on sale now and start as low as $30. The economical “Flex-Three” package offers 20% off box and reserved stadium court seats when three or more tournament sessions are purchased while the “Daily Double” provides 10% off box and reserved stadium court seats when tickets are purchased for the day and evening session for the same day (discounts end January 19, 2020).
See the full lineup of offers, parties, special events, food and beverage options and more at or call 561-330-6000.
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Disclaimer – Match schedule, including number of sessions, dates, times, number of matches and players scheduled are subject to change. Tickets are not eligible for refund or exchange. 
About The Delray Beach Open by The only tournament in the world featuring an ATP Champions Tour event and an ATP Tour event in the same week at the same venue is held in Delray Beach, Florida, February 14-23 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center. The ATP Tour’s first North American hard court event of the outdoor season is one of just 10 ATP World Tour events in the United States. 2020 will be its 22nd year in Delray Beach, and 28th overall. The 3-day, ATP Champions Tour team-event is in its 11th year and was the first-ever event played on US soil. Each year the Delray Beach Open by brings world-class tennis players and thousands of visitors to Delray Beach and Palm Beach County. In 2010, the tournament received the Discover The Palm Beaches Florida’s annual Providencia Award for its extraordinary contribution to tourism. The City of Delray Beach was also a finalist for the USTA’s “Best Tennis Town” Award and in 2003, the tournament was the recipient of an “ATP Award of Excellence.” For more information please visit
About the ATP: The ATP is the governing body of the men’s professional tennis circuits – the ATP Tour, the ATP Challenger Tour and the ATP Champions Tour. With 63 tournaments in 30 countries, the 2020 ATP Tour showcases the finest male athletes competing in the world’s most exciting venues. From Australia to Europe and the Americas to Asia, the stars of the 2020 ATP Tour will battle for prestigious titles and ATP Rankings points at ATP Masters 1000, 500 and 250 events, as well as Grand Slams (non-ATP events). At the end of the season only the world’s top 8 qualified singles players and doubles teams will qualify to compete for the last title of the season at the Nitto ATP Finals. Held at The O2 in London, the event will officially crown the 2020 ATP Tour No. 1. For more information, please visit
About the ATP Champions Tour: The ATP Champions Tour brings together many of the greatest tennis players in history for nostalgic, competitive and entertaining tournaments around the world. Players are either formerly ranked No. 1 in the world in singles, a Grand Slam singles champion or finalist, or a singles player on a winning Davis Cup team. Players must be retired from ATP Tour competition and each event can invite wild card entrants of its choice. The Delray Beach Open by features a 3-day team-format.
About The City of Delray Beach: In the southeast corner of Palm Beach County on the Atlantic seashore, a Village by the Sea that began as an agricultural community in 1895 has become one of Florida’s most popular destinations for visitors, new families and seasonal residents. The City of Delray Beach encompasses slightly over 16 square miles with a permanent population of nearly 65,000 and growing. The City’s charm continues to garner national awards, including three in 2017: an “All-America City” award from the National Civic League for literacy strides (the city was also recognized in 1993 and 2001), a “Playful City USA” designation for providing 24 playgrounds for residents, and the recognition of Atlantic Ave as one of the “10 Great American Shopping Streets” by USA Today. In 2012 during the nationally televised “Best of the Road” special, Delray Beach was chosen by Rand McNally, USA Today and the Travel Channel as the “Most Fun Small Town” in America. In 2014, USA Today named it as one of the “Best Atlantic Beaches in Florida.”



  • Scoop Malinowski · January 30, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Go Gulbis!

  • Dan Markowitz · January 30, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Great job by Ernests at the AO, especially in taking Felix out in SS in first round. All this talk about the Canadian men’s XGen’er’s and while the US X-Gen’ers aren’t faring much better at the AO, at least Sandgren took it to the quarters.

    What a draw for Delray. This has to make it the best tourney of the year to attend. And I mean it, with Kei, Milos and Nick all playing you have three players you can get very close to watching as there isn’t a bad seat in the Delray Stadium. I’m going to try and make it to Delray.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 30, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Gulbis makes for a sweet addition to the draw too, he’s a favorite every where he goes. And maybe now more than ever because we don’t know how much we will see of him in the future. Still a champion, still unbeaten in ATP finals I believe, and still one of the best interviews in the sport.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 31, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Tiafoe will play Delray. So far he’s 0-for-2020. He was the no. 2 seed in Newport Challenger this week and won only one match, losing 3 and 2 to Istomin who’s No. 170. Tiafoe, 22, is now 50 in the world and heading in the wrong direction.

    I disliked the move Tiafoe made when he left his junior coach flat out to train with the USTA. This is the guy who made him a tennis player and if I remember the story correctly, when he left, that was it. The coaching relationship was over. Now he’s being coached by a guy who’s 27 who no one ever heard about before he became Tiafoe’s coach, Zack Evenden. The specters of Sock and Harrison, in their primes age-wise, but way out on the fringe of pro tennis now, has to make Tiafoe feel a bit skittish now. He doesn’t want to follow on their footsteps.

  • Andrew Miller · January 31, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    If today’s young US men’s players believe they are “doing pretty well” they should look at their fellow US players and when they earned their highest rankings. Shows most of them did so in early to mid 20s (at latest). I leave out any men’s player with a slam to their name, as I don’t think we can go there with this group until they show they can at least handle the second week of a tournament more regularly.

    DY, career high ranking, #38; age: 22.

    Sock, career high ranking, #8; age: 25.

    R. Harrison, career high ranking, #40; age: 25.

    D. Kudla, career high ranking, #53; age: 23.

    S. Johnson, career high ranking, #21; age: 26.

    B. Baker, career high ranking, #29; age: 32.

    M. Fish, career high ranking, #7; age: 29.

    J. Blake, career high ranking, #4; age: 26.

    R. Ginepri, career high ranking, #15; age: 23.

    T. Dent, career high ranking, #21; age: 24.

    JM Gambill, career high ranking, #15; age: 24.

    S. Querrey, career high ranking, #11; age: 30.

    J. Isner, career high ranking, #8; age: 32.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 31, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Looking at these ranking stats–and thanks for posting them–it looks like most of the American men reached their career highs after age 26 and a number after 30–Blake, Qball, Fish, Izzie and SteveJo. So while it’s early to judge these still-young Americans, when you look at them, besides Opelka and Fritz, none of them look like they’re headed for Top 20. And you have to wonder about the coaching they’re receiving.

  • Leif Wellington Haase · January 31, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    In terms of the top 20, I wouldn’t write off Tommy Paul yet, and among the still younger group Brandon Nakashima, J.J. Wolf, and Martin Damm (jr) are players who have already shown a lot of game and have very significant upsides.

    It’s too easy a generalization, but it’s mostly true that the Americans with the biggest work ethic and drive are not blessed with the greatest size and athleticism, while those with the biggest natural gifts don’t seem to be receiving the best coaching: motivational, tactical, or developmental.

    I’ve been struck that Steve Johnson, at 30, is hitting a two-handed backhand more than ever, knowing that even his incredible fitness won’t be able to sustain hitting the predictable slice and prolonging long rallies. Sandgren is trying to move closer to the baseline at times and hit through the court. And Paul has tightened up his groundstrokes considerably. Isner, whose height disguises just how raw a player he was when he first came on tour, should be the inspiration for everyone who wants to maximize their potential.

    Not every player has the time, resources, or inclination to fix the obvious problems that are keeping them from the top 100, top 50, or top 20. But it would be great if some of the younger group– Cressy, Eubanks (needs a more reliable backhand, probably a two-hander), Mmoh, Donaldson when (if ever) healthy again come to mind–committed themselves to methodically reconstructing their games with those loftier goals in mind. It’s not a substitute for the more organic, community-oriented way that Europeans become top tour players (or for the somewhat serendipitous equivalent of the Bolletieri academy in its heyday), but in the US context the need for ruthless individual self-assessment is considerable.

  • Andrew Miller · January 31, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Agree with Leif. Like what Paul doing, hope others get serious again. All should pay attention to Sandgren, having put them all to shame, including young Tommy Paul.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 31, 2020 at 11:48 pm


    Eubanks isn’t changing from a one to two hander at age 23. Eubanks has to be a player like Ram who didn’t have great success in singles except at Newport of course. As for guys like Mmoh and Paul and Wolf and Nakashima, maybe their highs are top 50, but these kind of guys are most likely not going to be players who can reach a second week of a slam.

  • Leif Wellington Haase · February 1, 2020 at 2:40 am

    I agree with you 100 percent that if Eubanks stays on his current trajectory even a singles career like Ram’s would be a dream, and who knows about doubles? But if Stevie Johnson, reunited with his old coach, can pick up a two-hander at 30 then it hardly seems possible that younger players couldn’t adapt as well. And despite his 1st round loss to Federer in Oz Steve has gained 15-20 ranking points with his overhauled game. In Eubanks’ case something of this kind would admittedly be drastic. But for him and the other young Americans I mention (who would need to make less dramatic changes, I think) they have the combination of intensity, physical strength, and fundamental skills to go higher than one might think at first glance. (There are others– Marcos Giron comes to mind– for whom getting to the cusp of the top 100 is a tremendous feat. Sandgren, like Bjorn Fratangelo and Alex Kusnetzov, was considered a rising prospect, then something of an underachiever, and has in the past couple of years been fulfilling his potential and more, even if his ranking hasn’t been steady.)

  • Dan Markowitz · February 1, 2020 at 7:31 am

    The difference between Johnson and Eubanks is that Eubanks like Sampras, like Ram, has a good one-hander. I think it’s the basis of his game to attack with the backhand rather than a two-hander which he may have judged to be a a more defensive shot.

    Also, Eubanks has never been the player Johnson’s been. I mean, Johnson dominated college tennis. Eubanks has not been so dominant a force. What you have in men’s American tennis now, is a lot of–as you say–guys who like Giron who being on the cusp of the Top 100 is a great thing. But not even Tiafoe, Fritz or Opelka is showing themselves to be a guy like Thiem who maybe at 26, can contest for a slam.

  • Matty · February 1, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    Wow, take a look at the Pune 250 draw. So pathetic that I dare you to name even one player that you’d pay $10 to see. Too many tournaments and too long a season really dilute the pool…

  • Matty · February 1, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    @dan markowitz while I’m certainly not disagreeing about what you’ve written re Francis Tiafoe, there is a back story that explains the coaching change to Zach. It has nothing to do with USTA exerting any influence pro or con. Also, Francis tried Orlando for a while and his results were modest. When he chose to leave that USTA center his results improved to the point he won Delray. Francis needs his friends & family close by – some pros don’t need that – his friends & family give him an emotional support structure. The DC area has been kind to him with Ted Leonis and Mark Ein providing mentorship (IMHO).

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 1, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    Matty, Paire is in it, Karlovic. Paes got a WC into doubles with Ebden. I like young Indian Sumit Nagal also, he played Fed at US Open last year as a qualifier. Dallas Challenger may be a more interesting draw though.

  • Andrew Miller · February 1, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Tiafoe before Evenden: Australian QF
    Tiafoe with Evenden: Australian R1

    As Stefanki said to Rios, who said he was looking to go a different direction, Stefanki said something to the effect, “only direction if you change course from #1 is down”.

    Who was right?

  • Andrew Miller · February 2, 2020 at 12:11 am

    re: young U.S. men’s players, at least it’s not February 2014, and history of the US men’s players shows that for those that haven’t reached their potential, they usually make an effort to do at least that. They can all get serious in terms of improving on a weekly basis, developing better strategies, mental toughness, better overall games.

    Some already have. I think they will get better, so long as they don’t keep making so many excuses or think that they’re doing “well for our age” – Ryan Harrison was about that, about how eventually he would have his chance. He then learned he had to make his luck, and then, just as quickly, it came undone.

    One of the more confusing stories for sure. Harrison WAS Coco Gauff for the US men. Then he had a kind of Mardy Fish arc of sorts…then the tumble that hasn’t ended.

    These guys could do worse than watch some high-level WTA matches (lots of Kenin and mix in a few tapes of ATP matches with Sandgren), get a sports psychologist, and a physio, and recommit to competing well every match. Get it out of their heads Agassi’s story of dipping down into the challengers…get a better story for themselves.

  • Andrew Miller · February 2, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Read the GQ feature on Tiafoe, and it was good. He moved home to train closer to home (there is a major center in Maryland, around which Tiafoe grew up on, as in literally where he grew up).

    I don’t think there’s ever any dispute that Tiafoe has arrived where so many rivals haven’t. I think it’s always the where he goes from here. Watching him has been like watching many US players for over a decade now: when he’s playing well you wonder if all of a sudden, his game will fall apart.

    Speaks to the under-emphasis US men put on basics such as consistency, hanging in the thirty ball rallies, boring stuff like that. As if tennis no longer matches up with the attention span of US players, whether Steve Johnson or Klahn or anyone.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 2, 2020 at 12:54 pm


    I don’t know about family, and this guy Zach sounds like a good guy, but let him coach some Futures players to get some experience before Tiafoe hires him as his coach. The guy has no background in pro tennis. Djokovic doesn’t hire a nobody; Vajda had a decent pro career. Thiem doesn’t hire a nobody; Massu was a solid pro.
    Why would Tiafoe hire a nobody? The reason seems to be that when you hire a nobody, he’s not going to push you. He might like the guy, but that’s no reason to hire him as your coach unless you’re trying to go on the cheap.

  • Andrew Miller · February 3, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Right coach makes a difference. Might be something to what Scoop said, that maybe the mission to hire his hitting partner has proven to be an experiment that has failed.

    This was a nice article on Tiafoe, on how he isn’t like Jessica Pegula, whose dad owns the Buffalo Sabres (goodness…kind of says it right there).

    Just that, in trying to prove to the world that anyone can make it from anywhere (as Tiafoe has done in some ways), overlooks that just as Tiafoe has the kinds of skills other players don’t, there are coaches that have worked hard to acquire the skills other coaches don’t have. So if he wants this platform to show that anyone can make it, he needs a good stable of coaches. If his coach is worth his salt, he’ll tell Tiafoe it’s time to bring in some additional coaches for specific areas.

    It’s the Djokovic approach. Not every coach is good at everything. So bring in people that do one thing amazing and learn from that person.

    Here’s another Tiafoe article. It was good, and shows what he gets right, and where some problems are with what he’s trying to do. It’s noble, but it needs some work.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 3, 2020 at 11:15 am

    In Tiafoe’s case, be nice to see this buddy coach Evenden step down as coach and just say, “I have not succeeded in making Frances a better player with better results therefore I’m resigning as his coach effective immediately. I wish Frances nothing but the best in his career and finding a more qualified experienced coach to help him achieve his goals.”

  • Hartt · February 3, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Andrew, the GQ story on Tiafoe was very interesting. Thanks for mentioning it. I have no idea how Frances’ career will go from here, but he does show the emotion, roaring, that Scoop thinks is crucial.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 3, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    Hartt, yes Tiafoe is a roarer and it has help him with some sensational efforts and close losses to future hall of famers. But Tiafoe has stopped improving because he has a minor league coach.

  • Harold · February 3, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Pagula’s father owns the Buffalo Bills as well. Worth 5 times more than the Sabre’s

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 6, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Fritz, Opelka, Raonic, Paul, Johnson, Albot, Kyrgios, Seppi, Nishioka, Sandgren, Tiafoe, Humbert, all in the main draw.



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