After Ruud’s run out of nowhere, another young gun Mikael Torpegaard, 22 yrs old, was playing at the Columbus challenger, where he plays college tennis as one of the best college players right now. He won at home beating Benjamin Becker in three sets to win the tournament. He will rise from 642 to 371 in the rankings. Epic stuff.
Excerpts from an interview L’Equipe did with Simon:
‘When Richard Gasquet sends a backhand ten miles from the corner of the stands, they say it’s talent. They’re right. But when Rafael Nadal does the same with a forehand, they say it’s strength and that it’s physical. There’s complete agreement about Federer’s talent, but when it comes to Djokovic, there’s doubt. They say he has no great shot. Except that when you serve at him at 275 kph and he takes it every time, in the middle of the racquet. That’s incredible talent. If you ask Jan de Witt, who has the most talent, Roger or Novak, he’ll hesitate to reply.’
‘Television distorts perceptions. People don’t see what’s so special about Kei Nishikori. He has the best two-handed backhand I’ve ever seen. He finds incredible angles but that doesn’t make an impression. I often use the example of Michael Llodra. He had an amazing volley and touch but he couldn’t hit a correct forehand. Was he gifted? Safin had a patent on talent his entire career, but when it came to hands, he was like me. Now, Ernests Gulbis is the same. He’s talented, full stop. If he loses, it’s because he doesn’t feel like playing.”
Gutsy performance from Struff. Like the way he is unfazed by being up against a multi slam winner and is sticking to his game plan. Taking a set off Wawrinka is no mean feat for someone who normally only plays on the Challenger circuit.
Yep. Stan probably had his mind on London. In an interview after Basel he said he wasn’t even sure if he was going to play this week. 35 winners and 58 unforced errors yikes. Struff deserved it though he played good tennis and stuck to his aggressive game plan. I had a feeling if Stan didn’t win this one in two he might bow out in the third. Especially in his first match of the event against an aggressive player like Struff and not in a big tourney either. I’m confident he’ll show up in London and in Melbourne lol. #stanimal
19 year old Lloyd Harris of South Africa currently on a 30 match winning streak on the Futures circuit. This guy has won six straight titles, including his last three at home. Dang. He’s close to a spot in top 250. Also Auger Aliassime, just 16 years old still, won his first futures title (or pro title of any kind) a few weeks back in the U.S. and sits just outside the top 600 close to his career high rank of 595. That Harris guy seems really good. His run is even better than the run of Roman Safiullin. He’s also 19 but a little younger than Harris. Safiullin was like 17 when he went on a 25 match win streak on the futures circuit to end his 2014 season. But at start of 2015 Safiullin got injured for like ten months and has slowly made his way back to the ranking he was at at one point. He hasn’t gone on the kind of run he went on back in 2014 but still has won multiple futures titles since the injury return and now sits at 320 in the rankings, six spots off of the career high ranking of 314 he achieved back in very early 2015 during his incredible run of form.
Challenger tour update: Young gun Nishioka takes the title in Astana in a third set breaker over Istomin to end the year ranked 100. Stefan Kozlov wins his first challenger title in Columbus. He will rise to a career high 116 in the rankings to finish a great season for the youngster. The 18 year old joins 18 year old Mmoh and 19 year old Opelka as three American young guns winning their first challenger title in the last four weeks. Let’s go USA!! And Luca Vanni took the title in Andria, Italy. The Italian played another Italian in the form of world number 680 Matteo Berretini. Incredible run for the home wildcard who scored wins over Robredo and Chiudinelli on his way to the final. He’ll rise about 250 spots in the rankings as Vanni rises to 157, 57 spots off of his career high ranking of 100. He was outside top 200 not too long ago but experienced a great surge in form by also winning the indoor carpet challenger in Brescia last week 10-8 in the third set breaker in the finals. Ends the year on a 10 match winning streak after winning his two home court carpet challenger titles. Impressive stuff from the Italian. Psyched to see how he, kozlov, and nishioka fare in 2017. Especially the young American Kozlov.
This is only the official count in the stadium not including walk ins or the tens of thousands of fans who watched the event live streamed on-line for an unprecedented audience to watch a practise in any sport in history.
What a performance! So humble to his adoring fans.