You’re Crazy if You Don’t Love Tommy Paul, The Spicoli of American Tennis Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
America builds characters. Like the guy from Celebrity Apprentice. Like future President Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Last but not least, like the lovable Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
One of tennis’ coolest characters has rocked our stage over the last week and a half. And his name is Tommy Paul.
Last week, Paul made his first ATP Tour-level quarterfinals in Atlanta after qualifying and then immediately proceeding to dispatch #56 Hyeon Chun and #73 Malek Jaziri from the main draw of the 250.
On Tuesday, he won Casper Ruud in retirement. Tonight, he beat world #19 Lucas Pouille in straight sets and shut down the more experienced Frenchman.
Here’s the kicker: Tommy Paul is chill AF. He’s the Spicoli of American Tennis. After scalping his first world top 20 ATP player, he’s like, oh yeah, that was good, right? I wish I had this guy’s blood pressure. The USTA and US tournament directors everywhere should just wild card him everywhere, because he calms everyone down in the venue.
“I just feel really good, been working really hard, it’s kind of paying off right now,” he told us after the match.
Asked how he scouted Pouille, Paul said, “I don’t watch much tennis at all.” He relies on coach Diego Moyano for all of his scouting tips. “I learn from him a lot about my opponents,” he said.
Though granted a wild card into DC, he seems to be tapped for the honor less than other young Americans. “I like to try and earn things alot,” Paul said. “A wild card’s obviously great. Hopefully, I can start not having to get wild cards and get in directly.”
On his ascension from the ITF events to the pro tour, he said “I like it a lot more up here obviously. The tournaments are way nicer, the courts are bigger, the amount of fans. These tournaments are bigger and I just enjoy it more.”
The only downside: “Sometimes you can’t warm up close to your match time. If you want to practice on the court you;re playing on, you’ve got to come 2 1/2, 3 hours early”, he said.
Paul committed to the University of Georgia, but changed his mind after winning the French Open juniors single title. “Alright, I think I’m going to try it out,” he reflected.
Paul takes on Gilles Muller tonight around 6:30 p.m.
Stosur, Wozniacki, Wickmayer Advance at Citi Open In Rain-Delayed Session Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
#1 Seed Sam Stosur
WASHINGTON (June 18)—Sam Stosur came out swinging today under the Washington sun. She won 91% of her first-service points against Alla Kudryavtseva in a 6-3, 6-0, 57-minute breezer and the #1 seed sent a message. “I’m off to a great start here, but the conditions are so different from where I’ve just come” she said. As she said that, a heavy wind gust hit the media center and rocked the interview tent. And as soon as the press conference was over, a heavy rain hit the grounds. The #1 seed, Stosur will now face Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.
#7 Seed Wickmayer Didn’t Disappoint
Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer is playing some of her best tennis right now, and she dispatched an always difficult first round opponent in Madison Brengle, who hails from Delaware just two hours away.
“For me, it was tough in the beginning to hang in there to keep fighting for every point,” Wickmayer told Tennis Atlantic in an exclusive interview after the match. “She makes you work hard, so I just tried to stay focused, to stay positive and try to play as aggressively as I could and I think I did that well, especially in the second set. I served well and I think I put a lot of pressure on her game.”
She’ll meet Shuai Zhang on Wednesday.
Those two matches, which started at 1:50 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. respectively, were the only tennis at Citi Open until after 7:00 p.m. after the rain finally relented.
In the second half of the rain-segmented day, Shuai Zhang dispatched fellow countrywoman and Lucky Loser Lin Zhu, 7-5, 6-4. Later, Jessica Pegula walloped Aleksandra Wozniak 6-2, 6-2. That hit she took before the match with the other Woz, Caroline, apparently did the Canadian little good. For Caro, she whisked past Hiroko Kuwata, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and will compete in the marquee 2nd round match-up of this tournament when she takes on Sam Stosur on Wednesday.
An Emotional Caroline Garcia After Loss to Cibulkova in Madrid Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
It has been an incredible and unpredictable start to the women’s side of the Mutua Madrid Open with many of the top seeds bowing out in the opening two rounds. However one of the more interesting matches came in a top quarter that see’s not a single seeded player left in the section.
On Aranxta Sanchez Vicario stadium, Dominika Cibulkova and Caroline Garcia engaged in a near two hour roller coaster which the Slovakian eventually won 0-6, 6-3, 6-4
The Frenchwoman was on fire in the opening nine games, blasting winners as Cibulkova struggled to keep up. Garcia raced through the first set 6-0 and looked comfortable with a break at 3-0, but then a dramatic shift in momentum saw Cibulkova win the next six games to level the score at one set all.
The third set was fought hard by both players, but Cibulkova held her nerve, and serve, to put score line pressure on Garcia with a 5-4 lead. The 22-year-old then dropped serve with a disappointing double fault to round off a disappointing loss.
“It was not very good actually, and it’s sad I lost today.” aid a tearful Garcia.
“I was good in the beginning, but I lost a bit of my game and she started to play good, and I changed a little bit of my game and it didn’t go where I wanted it to.”
The clay season is big for the Frenchwoman as it all leads up to her home Grand Slam, Rolland Garros. The French Open was the stage where a 17 year old Garcia pronounced herself to the tour by almost defeating Maria Sharapova on Phillippe Chatrier court in 2011. Five years has past since that second round contest, and her home slam has not always been kind to her.
So how does she feel about her game as we fast approach the second Grand Slam of the year?
“My game is just sometimes not going the way I want. I work a lot outside the court and we will see how I play at the French Open, but don’t have a lot of expectations there”, Garcia said.
Despite some disappointing losses at the French Open, the WTA world number 49 won a tournament in Limoges last year and has played well in the Fed Cup in front of her home crowd. However, previous experiences at Roland Garros still play on her mind.
“A lot has happened over there. Sometimes I have played well in the past and sometimes I have had a bad draw in the first round, and last year was not a good match for me, but it can happen everywhere so we will see how this one goes.”
Along with her friend Kristina Mladenovic and compatriot Alize Cornet, there will be a lot of pressure on the French contingent to perform, but first Garcia will finish off her doubles campaign in Madrid then head to Rome next week in the company of her minions.
“I don’t know if I am a big fan (laughs), but I find them funny and I like them.”
Interviews From @FamilyCircleCup With The Last Remaining Seeds (Must Post Now!) #FCC2015 Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Where Did Everyone Go?
After losing so many seeds yesterday, I thought I’d better post these miniature interviews before another player packed their bags for Fed Cup or Bogota. Yesterday, I posted Caroline Garcia and Sara Errani, who survived the Wednesday carnage. Garcia faces Lucie Hradecka this morning and Sara Errani gets Sara Sorribes Tormo this afternoon.
Jelena will look to get past Montenegro’s surging Danka Kovinic, who called JJ her childhood idol. Don’t give me any compliments, kid. Sounds like a trap.
Madison hopes to continue her winning ways against Andrea Mitu.
Angelique draws Lara Arruabarenna this morning on Gibson.
And Petko the Giant looks to avoid the upset from Madison Brengle this afternoon.
UK Tennis blogger Glenys Furness caught up with 21 year old Liam Broady, The Englishman is currently at a career high ranking of 180 in the world and just turned pro last season. Since turning pro he has already reached final round qualies at the AO this year, and reached an ATP challenger final last year at the end of the season, along with multiple futures tour titles. He and his sister Naomi are both UK based tennis professionals and he appears poised for a breakthrough. Broady was prepped for success at the junior level as he reached two junior slam finals (Wimbledon 2011, US Open 2012), and won two junior grand slam doubles titles (Wimbledon 2010, Australian Open 2012) between 2010 and 2012.
Liam Broady took time out of his preparations for the Memphis ATP 250 qualifying to talk with me. I am grateful to both Liam and to his fitness trainer Ric Moylan for giving me some time. Liam is ranked 180 in the world currently, and is the British number 4 men’s singles player by ranking.
“How did you get involved with (Life Coach) Adrian Tannock” “I got involved with Adrian via Ric (Moylan) around 4 years ago. My Dad was looking for assistance in finding ways to develop the psychological element of my tennis. Ric and Adrian had worked together previously with other athletes so after Ric introduced us, we developed a strong relationship from there.”
“What does Ric have you doing during the off season” “Ric has me doing pretty much everything that hurts. I’ve grown to love doing the hard work that Ric has taught me will bring me success, and he’s an indispensable member of my team.”
“If British Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith selected you for the Davis Cup, what would this mean to you” “It would be amazing and an honour to represent my country at the highest level of tennis, playing the sport I love around fantastic people. Playing Davis Cup has always been at the top of my ambitions to achieve.”
“What match from the US Challenger matches last year has resonated the most, and why?” “The biggest result on paper was beating Tim Smyzcek in 3 sets after losing to him pretty comfortably only a few weeks before although the match I think I played best in was against Peter Torebko the round after.”
“There has been a lot in the press recently on the financial burden on players, how do you make ends meet and what sacrifices have you made?” “Tennis is an expensive sport to participate in and at lower levels the rewards financially are next to none. Over the last couple of years since I left home I have had sponsorships from Nike and Dunlop that have helped massively and of course support from the LTA has been invaluable.”
“Looking ahead, what is your next major goal?” “My next major goal is to finish the year in the top 100. Apart from that I just want to focus on improving as a player and a person.”
“Who do you feel are the next up and coming stars of British Tennis?” “I would like to think that myself and Kyle Edmund are! But after that I’m not too sure, I haven’t spent much time in England the last few years but I know that Marcus Walters who is coached by Leighton Alfred in Nottingham plays very well as does Max Stewart who is also at Nottingham.”
Thank you again to Liam and Ric for the opportunity to speak together, and best of luck in the Memphis qualifying.-Glenys
Tennis Atlantic is proud to announce a partnership agreement with tennis apparel company ENGN Tennis, ENGN is a new, fresh entrant in the tennis apparel industry. They produce performance tennis apparel with the needs of the tennis professional in mind. ENGN is an American based company, and was founded by business entrepreneur Eugenio Kettelsen, who is a tennis player himself on the ITF futures circuit, in addition to serving as the CEO and President of ENGN tennis. Tennis Atlantic editor Steen Kirby conducted a Q and A session with Eugenio and the transcript is below.
For more on ENGN please visit their website where you can purchase performance tennis apparel items and learn more about the products and brand. In addition, look out for a variety of up and coming tennis pros wearing the ENGN brand, along with Tennis Atlantic staff journalists this year on the tennis tour.
(Steen) Tell me about your background in tennis/personal biography, and how you got into the role you are in now? (Eugenio) “I got involved with tennis at the age of 12 in Mexico City, Mexico. During my high school days, I remember going to the club to practice with the wall and all of what I practiced paid off, six years later I earned a tennis scholarship from Missouri Valley College and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with concentration in Marketing. I had been always been passionate about tennis, so I decided on continuing with it and even better, supporting hard working, disciplined, and committed professional tennis athletes with my business dream.”
ENGN Tennis Founder and CEO/President, along with futures tour player, Eugenio Kettelsen
What inspired you to start the ENGN brand?
“The idea of ENGN Tennis Apparel came on my college years, I had the idea of creating a different brand, I realized that the expenses of professional tennis players are high and that they need the best quality clothing in order to perform well, so about two years ago, I created the ENGN brand to motivate them, so they can continue with their tennis. Currently, I am still competing in futures tournaments. I have to organized my time on these dual endeavors by working hard on the brand and training for those tournaments. So far it has been rewarding for tennis players and for the sport.”
Is ENGN inspired or encouraged by any other companies in the industry?
“Engn Tennis Apparel its a different concept, I got inspired by the different stories from the players, bad and good ones.”
How many players has ENGN signed agreements with and what is the status of the brand currently?
“The brand is in its primary, formative years, we have signed a few players and we are currently talking with about 20 possible pro prospect players. The ENGN Tennis website its in its process of getting more quality items, so we can grow faster and support as many players as we can.”
What are your future expansion plans for ENGN Tennis Apparel, this year and beyond? “For this year, we are planning on getting the complete line of clothes and work on strategic marketing ideas to promote the brand. In 3-5 years, we expect to be in other countries and sponsor bigger events.”
What materials does ENGN use in their products?
“At Engn Tennis Apparel we use 100% polyester material, which makes it thinner and more comfortable for tennis athletes. I don’t consider the people that I work with as employees, I believe every single person that works with me, is part of the brand itself.”
Where and how can people purchase ENGN products? “The Engn products can be purchase at our website, which is http://www.engntennis.com/. We currently have all men’s sizes, but we will assuredly expand in the near future with offerings for women and youth.”
Will ENGN be releasing any new apparel options or designs in the near future?.
“Yes, we will soon be releasing the Engn London white collection.”
Will ENGN be traveling to various tennis tournaments and expos so people can check out the brand in person?
“Yes, we are planning on doing the futures tour all year inside the US, in which I will be competing as well.”
Tennis Atlantic looks forward to a fruitful partnership with the rising ENGN brand, and we encourage those in the market for performance tennis apparel to give this new brand a look.-The Editors
Nearly everyone expected to win did so today, except Novak Djokovic. It didn’t break his heart or at least he didn’t show it.
Novak Djokovic will apparently play with two rackets at the US Open in an effort to maintain his world #1 ranking. At least that’s what he told Tennis Panorama News’ Dave Gertler at the Western & Southern Open in Greater Cincinnati today after being defeated by Tommy Robredo. For Djokovic, he’s the first #1 seed since 2008 not to reach the quarters. The dodgy Cincinnati ‘Capodimonte Cup’ continues to elude him.
Cincinnati Capodimonte Cup
Australian Open Champion Stan Wawrinka made quarterfinals at the Cincinnati Masters today with a 3 set win over Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-0, 6-1. His first serve has been off as of late and Stan only hit 27% of his first serves today. I asked him about that and he acknowledged the issue. Wawrinka will meet Julien Benneteau in the quarters tomorrow. The head to head between the pair favors the Frenchman 2-1.
Julien Benneateau had never beaten Jerzy Janowicz in ATP play until today, where he posted a 7-5, 6-1 win over the big Pole. Benneteau’s serve was on and he was patient with every point. He’ll need that serve when he faces Wawrinka for a chance to make the semis in Cincinnati, a feat he’s never reached before.
“I am not the favorite, but I’ll have my chances and just be ready to take it”, he told me, referring to tomorrow’s match with Wawrinka.
Fabio Fognini is the first Italian quarterfinalist at the Western & Southern Open since 1995. He doesn’t care who he plays in the quarterfinals tomorrow. He’s just thrilled to be here so deep in the tournament and peaking around the US Open.
Simona Halep is getting used to the attention of being a world #2 and she dosen’t care if she plays on Center Court or not. This is her 2nd post-match press conference after acceding to her new post. She also answered an interesting question about being #1 whether or not you win a slam.
Finally, Evina Svitolina beat Carla Suarez Navarro to advance to her first Premier-level quarterfinals today, getting revenge for Suarez Navarro’s win over her earlier this year in Linz. Svitolina’s next opponent is Ana Ivanovic. She spoke me with me after the match and discussed the improvements in her mental game. The 19-year-old is the first teen quarterfinalist here since Pavs did it in 2010.
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2014
CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
ATP –  Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) vs. Julien Benneteau (France)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA –  Serena Williams (USA) vs  Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP –  Tommy Robredo (Spain) vs.  David Ferrer (Spain)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP –  Andy Murray (Great Britain) vs.  Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA –  Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) vs. Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
ATP – Vasek Pospisil (Canada) / Jack Sock (USA) vs.  Alexander Peya (Austria) / Bruno Soares (Brazil)
Not before 1:00 pm
ATP –  Milos Raonic (Canada) vs.  Fabio Fognini (Italy)
Not before 3:00 pm
WTA –  Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) vs.  Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
Not before 7:00 pm
WTA –  Maria Sharapova (Russia) vs.  Simona Halep (Romania)
WTA –  Alla Kudryavtseva (Russia)/Anastasia Rodionova (Australia) vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain)/Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)
COURT 3 start 12:00 noon
WTA – Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan) / Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) vs. Garbine Muguruza (Spain) / Carla Suárez Navarro (Spain)
Not before 1:30 pm
ATP – After Suitable Rest –  Julien Benneteau (France) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) vs.  Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia)
WTA –  Raquel Kops-Jones (USA) / Abigail Spears (USA) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) / Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
ATP – Robert Lindstedt (Sweden) / Marcin Matkowski (Poland) vs. [WC] Steve Johnson (USA) / Sam Querrey (USA)
ATP –  Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) / Horia Tecau (Romania)
Results – Thursday, August 14, 2014
Men’s Singles – Round of 16
 Tommy Robredo (Spain) d  Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 76(6) 75
 Roger Federer (Switzerland) d Gael Monfils (France) 64 46 63
 Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) d  Marin Cilic (Croatia) 36 60 61
 Milos Raonic (Canada) d [WC] Steve Johnson (USA) 67(7) 63 76(4)
 David Ferrer (Spain) d Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) 75 60
 Andy Murray (Great Britain) d  John Isner (USA) 67(3) 64 76(2)
 Fabio Fognini (Italy) d Yen-Hsun Lu (Chinese Taipei) 36 63 63
Julien Benneteau (France) d Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 75 61
Men’s Doubles – Second Round
 Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) d Eric Butorac (USA) / Raven Klaasen (South Africa) 61 64
 Alexander Peya (Austria) / Bruno Soares (Brazil) d Marin Cilic (Croatia) / Santiago Gonzalez (Mexico) 76(3) 76(6)
[WC] Steve Johnson (USA) / Sam Querrey (USA) d  David Marrero (Spain) / Fernando Verdasco (Spain) 76(4) 64
Women’s Singles – Round of 16
 Serena Williams (USA) d  Flavia Pennetta (Italy) 62 62
 Simona Halep (Romania) d  Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) 64 75
 Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) d Sabine Lisicki (Germany) 61 61
 Maria Sharapova (RUS) d Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) 64 76(2)
 Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) d Sloane Stephens (USA) 76(4) 64
 Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) d Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 62 26 63
 Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) d  Angelique Kerber (Germany) 75 62
Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) d  Carla Suárez Navarro (Spain) 46 64 64
Women’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
Timea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenkovic (France) d  Sara Errani (Italy) / Roberta Vinci (Italy) 26 61 10-8
Women’s Doubles – Second Round
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) / Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) d  Su-Wei Hsieh (Chinese Taipei) / Shuai Peng (China) 36 75 10-5
Garbine Muguruza (Spain) / Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) d  Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) / Elena Vesnina (Russia) 76(1) 16 12-10
 Racquel Kops-Jones (USA) / Abigail Spears (USA) d [WC] Melanie Oudin (USA) / Taylor Townsend (USA) 63 61
 Alla Kudryavtseva (Russia) / Anastasia Rodionova (Russia) d Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) / Arantxa Parra Santonja (Spain) 63 62
Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) / Yaroslave Shvedova (Kazakhstan) d Cara Black (Zimbabwe) / Sania Mirza (India) 63 63
2014 @CitiOpen Semifinalist @VasekPospisil on @RogersCupTO, @MilosRaonic
Why go to Rogers Cup in Toronto when it comes to us at the Citi Open in Washington?
After Milos Raonic’s success in Washington, now it’s Pospisil’s turn.
Vasek Pospisil is on to the Citi Open semifinals, where he’ll play Richard Gasquet in just a few hours after the conclusion of a rain-suspended third set from last night. Pospisil won the third 6-4 for a final score of 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4. The Canadian won 87% of his first service points in the final stanza today.
Looking ahead, he could face Milos Raonic tomorrow in the final.
After the match, he talked about the tightness of a final set with little margin of error, his excitement about returning home to Canada for Rogers Cup, and reflections on Milos Raonic over the last year.
Specifically, Pospisil was asked if he’d witnessed an improved focus on the part of Raonic over the last year. His response was sharp.
“No. I wouldn’t say so. I haven’t noticed any changes there. I mean, his team is bigger. He has 4 guys around him. If that means he has more focus, I don’t know. But that’s the only change I’ve seen”.
—S. Fogleman, Tennis East Coast
Vasek Pospisil (Photo: S. Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com)
Vasek Pospisil (Photo: S. Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com)
After Milos Raonic checked himself into the Citi Open semifinals in Washington with a 7-6(2), 6-2 win over Steve Johnson on Friday, most of us wanted to talk about his big serve, Rogers Cup and Vasek Pospisil’s run.
But one practitioner wanted to talk about the recent “Best Hair” commentary from Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert of ESPN. Now Milos is so uber-managed and self-restrained that some fans are left wondering if he’s even human sometimes. His uber-management does its best to limit his 1-on-1 video exposure to everyone but the Big Press.
So the only time some get to check his pulse is at tournaments Town Hall-style press conferences, where everyone’s invited.
Thank the good doctor for her work in tonight in diagnosing Raonic’s funny bone as still slightly functional. It was awkward and awesome, like a failed ‘Make Me Laugh’- so hilarious because he didn’t crack up. But he did give a little reflexive kick to ESPN in the end.
Kei Nishikori (Photo: Chris Levy @Tennis_Shots for TennisEastCoast.com)
.@KeiNishikori Opens @CitiOpen With a Win Over Sam Querrey Stephan Fogleman, Tennis East Coast
After the press appearances, the photo-ops with the kids and a first round bye, it was finally time for Kei Nishikori to play some tennis in Washington.
It was close, but #4 seed Nishikori moved on in three, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 over American Sam Querrey on Stadium Court at the Citi Open. In a tight one, it’s saved break points that often make the difference. Kei was broken once, while Querrey gave up two. Kei won only 6 points more than Querrey, enough to walk away to play another day.
Kei Nishikori (Photo: Chris Levy @Tennis_Shots for TennisEastCoast.com)
Nishikori is now 33-8 on the year, while Querrey drops to 17-17.
Kei Nishikori (Photo: Chris Levy @Tennis_Shots for TennisEastCoast.com)
Kei plays Lukas Lacko tomorrow for a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals.