The Enigma Named Sam Querrey

12717300_10207035083848785_8985683437354053219_nI looked up yesterday and Sam “QBall” Querrey was 28. I said, “That can’t be!” I remember Qball when he was 18 playing the Forest Hills Challenger having a pizza delivered to him in the swanky Forest Hills bar/cafe. Actually, I remember further back to the year before when I saw the acne-laced Qball playing the Qualis at the US Open. This must’ve been 2005 when Qball was 17 or 18. I remember thinking I’d never seen a pro athlete or a fledgling one look so rail thin and like Jughead of Archie comic fame.

The following year, 2006, Qball actually beat Vince Spadea at the now-defunct LA pro tournament and received a wild card into the US Open where he beat Phillip Kohlschreiber in the first round (Qball’s chances of beating Kohly in the first round of the US Open in 2016 would be very small). It was also that year that Qball served 10 consecutive aces in a row (believed to be an Open era record!) in beating James Blake in the now-defunct Indianapolis event quarters.

In 2008, Qball reached the furthest he’s ever been in a slam, a 4th Rd showing at the Open where he demolished Tomas Berdych. Qball also went to the Rd of 16 at the Wimby 2010 event. It was 2009 where Qball suffered a terrible injury in Thailand where his arm was impaled in a glass table which just missed causing career-ending nerve damage. And really, he’s never been the same since then.

But here it is 2016 and Qball is still the third-ranked American and no. 37. He’s won 8 tournaments and nearly $7 million and has hit a serve 141 mph. And yet, when I think of Qball, I think of a player who came close to being a top pro (his career high ranking is no. 17), but never really met that mark. Maybe it’s his milquetoast demeanor. Maybe it’s because his fiancee left him (this kind of thing doesn’t happen to a top player, does it?), but in actuality, Qball has done far better than the player he’ll always be compared to, Donald Young, who was featured along with Qball in the documentary, “Unstrung” about top junior players, and is now dropping precipitously in the rankings, who is almost 27 and has only reached a career-best of no. 38, has won not yet $3 million and has won zero ATP tournaments.

So like a lot of players, maybe it’s unfair to judge Sam Querrey as a top 20 player, a potential slam semis player, because the very fact he’s made it as far as he has is quite extraordinary. And yet…Qball! You coulda been a contender if only you took Scoop Malinowski intensity lessons.

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  • Dan Markowitz · June 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I guess Q will also be compared to Isner, three years his senior, who reached the top 10 and has reached a slam quarters, and Q will be found lacking. But really, Izzie’s only earned $9 million and won 10 titles so Q’s career hasn’t been so much worse than Izzie’s.

    Q will also be compared to Steve Johnson because SteveJo went to USC, starred there, while Q agonized about going to USC, but in the end didn’t. And Johnson is 26 and has only won $2 million but no titles. So against SteveJo, I guess Q is a big success.

  • Moskova Moskova · June 7, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    too bad – had potential but too nice and just not good / hungry / desperate enough to go higher..

  • Andrew Miller · June 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Querrey – the heir apparent who took the back seat.


  • Dan Markowitz · June 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I’ll try it at Newport when I see “Sam I am.” I’ll say, “Sam, you’re too nice a guy. What would you do if I threw this Coke in your face?” And then I’ll throw it in his face and see what he does.

    Well, maybe not, but the dilemma Qball’s in is he’s no. 37 which is still pretty darn good, but even reaching the 3rd round of a slam is a big deal for him and he basically never has a chance to knock off a big seed in a slam either. I remember a few years ago in Toronto, Sam was playing Djoko in the stadium and I was excited about the match. I thought Sam might just have a chance of knocking off Djoko. Now I’d never think that or have much interest in the match except for the fact that I like watching Sam zap his serve and forehand.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 7, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Has anyone seen Sam ever get really mad? I mean I’ve seen Izzie lose it, but never Sam. It’s like having Gomer Pyle playing pro tennis.

  • Andrew Miller · June 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    No, never seen Sam upset. Just depressed. The guy must beat himself up.

    Someone call him a journeyman. Or say something like, “players with your number of titles usually make a slam QF. Are you good for this?”

    Or show him a video of his three setter in 2005 with Nadal in Cincinatti.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Andrew: Lloyd Carroll has been notified to save Querrey’s career – Lloyd Carroll will take action at the USOpen -

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Dan: Querrey has flung his Babolat but I don’t think he’s ever gone over the edge – not his nature -

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Dan: Querrey once beat Berdych on US Open grandstand 62 62 62 – can’t think of any other big wins at a GS -

  • Andrew Miller · June 8, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Scoop-Activating Lloyd just saved Querrey from going down as a has been player. Thanks for saving Querrey’s professional tennis legacy.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 8, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Really, except Roddick, who could be a real SOB, and Fish and Blake who had nasty streaks to them, who’s been a real schmuck among American players in the last 25 years. Yes, you’d have to start with Tarango, who was a jerk.

    But all the rest of the guys from Ginepri to Spadea to Kendricks to certainly Qball and Izzie, maybe they don’t have enough chutzpah, they don’t like to rock the boat enough or didn’t believe in their talents enough. Face it, in tennis, you’ve got to be a bit of hardass to make it whether you’re Agassi, Courier. Federer or Rafa.

    Chang and Sampras didn’t really have the jerk factor, but Sampras learned it by the end.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Andrew: After Lloyd Carroll works his magic Querrey will be top ten and a major title threat – Just like Fish if not even better :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Dan: Tarango is one of the best coolest dudes in tennis – GREAT GUY -

  • Andrew Miller · June 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Scoop, favorite thing is when players with potential meet it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Or Andrew – when they exceed it – like Kozlov today who beat Steve Johnson in straight sets to get into the QF of Ricoh Open – Dan do you care to reassess your opinion of Kozlov now? Been a very tough year for Johnson after he blew that big lead to BBecker in Delray Beach -

  • Dan Markowitz · June 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    That’s very impressive for Kozlov. SteveJo has been a sinking ship this year. I’m almost more impressed by Kozlov’s win over Nishioka in the previous round. So Kozlov is also moving past Harry.

    When’s the Koz going to get engaged?

    And I don’t care how nice a guy you think Tarango is or that he is, on the court he could be a complete jerk. It’s like I ran into Eric Fromm, a guy I dealt with in the tennis world, who got to like no. 35 and once went to the 4th round of the French losing to Connors. And Eric is a really nice guy now, doesn’t play tennis anymore or teach it because he had both his hips replaced and he said that he never had any ill feelings on the court for any of his opponents.

    Now he might think that’s true at this juncture of his life, but Eric riled a lot of people the wrong way–at least in his business dealings after his tennis career–so to say he never harbored any ill feelings to any of his opponents says either the guy had tremendous self-control or he’s deluded himself into believing something that just wasn’t so.

  • Andrew Miller · June 8, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    SteveJo: 7-13 on year, has a nice win on A Zverev. He’s about to tumble.

  • Andrew Miller · June 8, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Koz has a lot of match play in ’16. That’s how you do it. And he hired an outside coach. The kid plays an intelligent game. Had no idea he was the third youngest U.S. player to make a challenger final – behind Chang and Agassi.

  • Andrew Miller · June 8, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    And-youngest in top 200. Nice Koz.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Johnson is 6-13 on year with only three wins since losing that disastrous one to B Becker in Delray – ranking has only fallen about ten spots to 39 but it will keep falling – two losses to teens this year – to Fritz and Kozlov – those hurt -

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Next up is Querrey who beat Kozlov in the Challenger final at end of 2014 – all the pressure will be on Q Ball -

  • Dan Markowitz · June 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I’m liking what I’m seeing of Kozlov, but he isn’t very big. The TC commentator just compared him to Murray’s got to be 3-4 inches taller than Kozlov. Grass court tennis is a game unto it’s own. It’s great Kozlov is making his mark, but let’s see how he does against the varsity on the summer hardcourt circuit.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 8, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Kozlov played well. He’s very smart on the court. His forehand looks a little funky and his serve is mediocre, particularly his second delivery, but SteveJo played one of the most hideous matches of tennis I’ve ever seen. He can’t come over his backhand practically ever and his forehand was MIA. Kozlov has a bit of an awkward forehand as well. It looks a little like Gulbis’.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Tim mayotte said he thought Kozlov’s forehand wasn’t fully cohesive – he said this two years ago – but I suppose just about every player has some kind of little quirk or hitch somewhere in his techniques – not everyone can be so free flowingly elegant as Federer Lopez etc -



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