Tennis Prose



The Little Guys In Paris

How many times have we heard how important height and size are to succeed in or eve make it to the professional ranks in tennis? Khachanov, Cilic, Hurkacz, Jarry, etc. – all well over six foot-tall – these are the tennis machine prototypes that one day will rule tennis.

But the little guys didn’t get that memo. If one takes a close look, there is no shortage of under six footers in the Paris Rolex Masters 48 man draw.

Damir Dzumhur, Yoshihito Nishioka, Pablo Cuevas, Radu Albot, Richard Berankis, Alex deMinaur, Casper Ruud, Adrian Mannarino, Corentin Moutet, Dusan Lajovic, Diego Schwartzman, David Goffin, Roberto Bautista Agut, Fabio Fognini, Stan Wawrinka are all six feet tall or under (deMinaur, Ruud, Wawrinka, Agut stand at an even six feet).

That’s fifteen players in Paris who are six feet or under, twelve are under six feet tall. Nishioka is the shortest player in Paris, he’s 5-7.

The conclusion is that maybe the importance emphasized on height and size and wingspan is a faulty theory. Smaller guy tennis, staying closer to the ground, quick bursts of anticipation and superior footwork, and more compact strokes are immeasurably undervalued assets.

Rod Laver is five foot eight. Lleyton Hewitt is 5-11. John McEnroe is 5-11. Andre Agassi is 5-11. Marcelo Rios was 5-10.

Don’t rule out the possibility of a man less than six feet tall ever achieving the ATP world no. 1 ranking ever again.

Or from winning the Paris Rolex Masters title this week.


  • Hartt · November 4, 2019 at 8:57 am

    I don’t know if it would have been a beatdown, but I think Novak, in his current form, would have won against Rafa. Improving his serve has made Novak even more dangerous, and is further evidence that Andrew is right, all players, even the very best, have to continue to improve.

  • Andrew Miller · November 4, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Kiki won WTA finals dubs. Cloud 9 now.

  • Hartt · November 4, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I see that Sabalenka moved from No.14 to No.11 and Muchova went from No.26 – 21. Bianca did not reach her goal of No.3, but going from No.152 to No.5 in one season isn’t too shabby!

  • Hartt · November 4, 2019 at 9:11 am

    That was great for Kiki and Babos. They are an excellent doubles team and often talk about their close friendship on and off the court.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 4, 2019 at 9:11 am

    Sock stopped trying to improve, look what happened.

  • Andrew Miller · November 4, 2019 at 10:17 am

    That Sock (No. 253 before delisting), Ryan Harrison (No. 310), DY (Number 233) all were or are stuck between #200 and #350 has to be some kind of record in the wrong direction. Escobedo is also at more than three times his top seventy ranking at No. 231.

  • Andrew Miller · November 4, 2019 at 10:21 am

    This legacy for these players stinks. I don’t like kicking players when they are down with more negative comments than whatever they’re saying to themselves these days. That doesn’t change the fact that their rankings are in the gutter.

  • Andrew Miller · November 4, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Top five is amazing. Andreescu rise has been meteoric. She should be motivated as the WTA tour finals was like a bucket of ice water and should make her hungry. As Djokovic shows those losses can be motivating or deflating. I think for these killer instinct players they are pure motivation. Then again so is talking trash about other players.

    Doesn’t take much to fire up a player. Ask Lloyd Carroll. One word did it for Mardy Fish. He had been telling himself that he was doing well until someone else told him actually you’re considered cannon fodder for other players. Woke him up right away.

  • catherine · November 4, 2019 at 10:26 am

    If only Kiki and Babos could play for France – last tie Kiki played with Garcia but Caroline is in terrible form now so France can’t even rely on the doubles. Neither Kiki nor Caro will be beating Barty, who can win the Cup on her own.

    It’s time Sabalenka started to make an impression at a GS. She’s been hovering just outside the top 10 for the last couple of years.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 4, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Kikibabo should be their moniker.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 4, 2019 at 10:39 am

    I need to reach out to Lloyd Carroll and do a new story about that whole episode with Fish.

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