Tennis Prose



Players We May Never See Again

There are a number of marquee or former marquee players who, for whatever reasons, have fallen down the rankings so far that we may never see them play in an ATP main draw again.

Leander Paes: The 47 year old winner of 54 doubles titles has won 770 career matches but he is now ranked 124. Paes most recent activity in the ATP was in March in Davis Cup vs. Croatia, he and Rohan Bopanna beat Mate Pavic (ranked 15) and Franko Skugor (ranked 32) 63 67 75. Paes will need a wildcard into a main draw or he will be forced to play Challengers or even Futures.

Donald Young: The 31 year old is ranked 316 now. His last match on record was in the round of 32 at Monterrey Challenger where he lost to Pablo Andujar 63 61. It’s not likely Young will receive a main draw wildcard so he will certainly be forced to play Challengers and Futures to battle his way back to the top 100.

Ryan Harrison: The 28 year old is ranked 464. His most recent doubles match was at US Open round of 16, with brother Christian, a defeat to Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram 62 64. Harrison’s last singles match was a 62 63 loss to Germany’s Daniel Altmaier at Acapulco qualies first round. Harrison will also need a wildcard into a main draw (highly unlikely) or to play Futures and Challengers.

Jack Sock: The 28 year old is ranked 253 and now coached by former top 50 player Alex Bogomolov Jr. Sock has changed his work ethic and has been training hard all year and has some wins to show for it, achieving a 3-4 match record on the year. But there’s a long way to go to get back to the top 10. Sock’s last matches was in the R32 at Roland Garros doubles, a loss with Pospisil to Hugues Hebert and Mahut 26 76 64. In singles at Roland Garros, Sock lost in the second round to Thiem 61 63 76.

Ivo Karlovic: Now 41 years old, the mighty Croatian who has won 8 career singles titles is ranked a troublesome 142. His last match was at the Cologne ATP 250 event in the first round of qualies where he lost to Aussie Marc Polmans 61 64.

Darian King: The 28 year old from Barbados was once ranked 106 but now he’s dropped to 279. King’s impressive ATP main tour record of 27-17 may stand unless he can dig his way out of the Challenger and Futures circuit.

Stefan Kozlov: The 22 year old is ranked 379. He holds a 5-17 career ATP record and has been active recently playing ITF low level events, losing to the likes of Jurgen Briand ranked 1243 by the score of 64 62. Other players he’s lost to recently – Nuno Borges (ranked 554), Nicolas Morena De Alboran (586), Daniel Cukierman (846) and Robert Strombachs (685). Kozlov did beat Brandon Nakashima earlier this year at a Challenger and he did win a set from 44th ranked Ugo Humbert in Delray Beach.

Jared Donaldson: The 24 year old American is ranked 729 but because of a knee injury, has not played a match since losing at 2019 Miami Open qualies 1R to Andrey Rublev 62 63.

Tommy Robredo: Now 38, the former world no. 5 (in 2006) is ranked 219. The Spanish grinder played his last match at the Alicante Challenger two weeks ago, falling to 274 ranked Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera 63 63. In doubles at the same event, Robredo and Steven Diez lost 60 60 to Inigo Cervantes and Oriol Roca Batalla.

Dudi Sela: The 35 year old is ranked 228 and has not played since losing to Mitchell Krueger 06 76 75 at Indian Wells Challenger in March. Sela was ranked 29 back in 2009.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · October 27, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    A source told me he just talked with Harrison a few days ago in NJ. He said Harrison told him he doesn’t have any tournaments scheduled at the moment.

  • Cory · October 28, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    Love this thread.

    I’ve never seen a tennis player more irate than Harrison. On his worst days, you’d have thought he would kill someone right there at the match. haha. Love his game. He’s got a good powerful serve, he’s decent at the net, and can pack a punch with that forehand. Good well rounded game. I never understood why he couldn’t string together any consistency. I felt that he could beat anyone on the right day.

    Tommy Robredo just keeps hanging around. Gotta admire that. He keeps hanging around these Challenger tournaments, winning just enough 1st or 2nd round matches but never getting deep anywhere (that I’ve noticed). He could bang around those clay Challengers for a couple more years but IDK if we’ll see him ever again on tour. I think he’s done.

    Jared Donaldson was a player that I felt could be top 20 potentially… good skillset & mental game too. Just can’t stay healthy. It’s been awhile since he had those surgeries…. why is he not back on tour Scoop?

    Kozlov & Young… my thoughts exactly. Neither player can beat anyone these days, remarkably considering their decent skillsets. I’ve never seen more “mental” players in my life. For a good laugh, watch Kozlov v. Young @ Indian Wells on YouTube. Both players were gifting the match to each other. It was remarkably putrid.

    I love Karlovic. Always rooting for him. But at his age, everyone’s beating him with simple passing shots. He has terrible lateral movement now. It’s remarkable how poor he’s been in tiebreaks too. Just takes one bad point and it’s a wrap. He’s still dominant on that serve tho…. hasn’t lost a step there. Like you suggested, I wonder if he’ll ever see that top 100 again…. IDK if he’ll start playing Challengers again. I remember in the final at Pune last year against Anderson, he was up 6-5 in the 3rd set tiebreak, serving, and lost BOTH points and then Anderson wrapped it up with a brisk serve, 8-6. Would have been the oldest titlist in quite some time i think. Totally choked.

    Sock is back… anyone with his skillset can make a career inside the top 100 but it takes serious consistent results to get inside that top 30-ish. Does he have the mental game for that? IDK.

  • George · October 28, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    Add Bernard Tomic to that list at age 27. Too bad. Loved watching his unusual game. Such relaxed tennis strokes. Reminded me of Miloslav Mečíř.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 28, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Cory, thanks, Ivo lost ten straight matches in 3rd set tiebreakers about 4 years ago. So he bounced back nice from that heartbreak. I saw that Young Koz match, if Koz won taat he’d have entered top 100. Great match, both battled pressure and nerves, DY prevailed. Koz fell after that. Noah Rubin could be done too, he’s now talking about a BTR Tour.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 28, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    George, Tomic was a wasted talent for sure. He had everything but a big serve and fast feet. Will miss his shenanigans. Can’t see him dedicating enough to get back to top 50. He can if he wants it though. IF is a big Q.

  • Cory · October 30, 2020 at 7:25 am

    Scoop, not really on-topic, but have you ever covered Rosalyn Small? 0-69 lifetime according to ITF website (WTA website has her at 0-62). Looks like she’s never even won a set, and a closer look reveals that she hasn’t won more than 2 games in any match (and i believe the 2 games won was in a doubles match). I don’t intend to mock as much as I’m amazed how it’s possible to be so bad with the reality that playing/traveling on the ITF tour has to be costing her a fortune. Moreover, Small is 27 now (not like she’s 17, a prospect), and according to my digging, hasn’t played a match since September 2019, altho the WTA website has her at 0-12 for 2020? Looks like a 69-year old Gail Faulkner beat her 6-1, 6-0 at an ITF qualifying event a few years ago. I’m curious what to make of this. Just wow. Curious what you make of this (I’m sure you’re aware of the above – looks like Small is a bit of an internet legend).

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 30, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Cory, I never heard of Small before. Must be very ordinary player to lose to old Gail that badly as Gail is an ordinary grinder. Have to admire these strivers who continue to plug away and chase their dream. The spirit to compete is a beautiful thing talent or no talent or minimal talent.

  • Doug Day · November 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

    Small (love the name) sounds like a candidate for the Florence Foster Jenkins of tennis. You remember that tone-deaf opera singer Meryl Streep played was a true story not without hilarity. Mike Rowe of TVs Dirty Jobs fame commented just because you’re passionate about something doesnt mean you dont suck at it. Rowe sang with the Baltimore Opera to get a union card and meet girls.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 2, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Doug, yes I know some tennis players who LOVE tennis to play to watch to be a club member but they are not good players but they love it so much and are nice people to be around.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 2, 2020 at 11:29 am

    ANother player we may not see again. Kohlshreiber is 97 in the world now, age 37.

  • Doug Day · November 3, 2020 at 7:09 am

    Scoop this is maybe the human intrest story of our tennis time. If you interview Small people who don’t even care about our game will be fascinated. Aren’t you dying to know what’s behind such a player?

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 3, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Doug, it’s the ultimate fighting spirit. I know a person who did not win a single USTA tournament match for five years, it took him five years to finally win his first match. I wrote about it here years ago. To me, that is more impressive than the players who always win, in some ways. It’s easy to win and play when you win most of the time. The ones who play and keep playing when they lose are to be very admired also.

  • Cory Minto · November 4, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    Scoop… Kohlscreiber, good one. I think we see him again. His results have been poor but he still has a top 40-75 game. Maybe not top 30-40 as was usual.

    Another two…

    Paulo Lorenzi, once as high as 33, now ranked 142… I think he’s toast. He’s been bad for a year now. Yeah, I know he was a career 100+ player who had a strong 2-3 year run… but he was a solid all-courter as long as he wasn’t playing anyone better than him (ha)

    Tomaz Belucci… once ranked 21, now 296… just can’t ever put a string of wins together. I think he’s done.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 5, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Cory, Kohli is hanging by a thread. He has to make main draw in AO and win matches to get back to top 50 otherwise he’s going to Challengers. Lorenzi is likely done, needs a miracle to surpass all these youngsters shooting up the rankings. He played a lot this summer on the Harry Cicma pro series and can still play. But he too will need a surge of good results to get back to top 50 range. Bellucci has been out there grinding in the Challengers for a couple of years now trying to get back in the mix, he even was working with Andre Sa. Once top 20, Bellucci has been stagnated in the minor leagues of the ATP. Could he suddenly snap out of it and return to the top 50? Unlikely.



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