Quotes of the Day: Isner, Matosevic, Sela, Becker, Sock

The second installment of my new series “Quotes of the Day” is here. Friday in Atlanta was an interesting, action-packed day of tennis. The sun was out, and it was unbearably hot. I’ll let the players tell the rest of the story.

John Isner–The 6’10 American played a very….unique match against Marinko Matosevic. After winning the first set(Matosevic double fault), Isner appeared to be laboring. He sluggishly moved around the court, but out of nowhere broke serve at 3-all. He served it out easily.

On starting at 4 p.m.: “I actually preferred the 4 o’clock start. It wasn’t easy out there, but I’m done and it’s 6 o’clock as to where last night (I didn’t get off the court)until 11.”

On the struggles of playing in the heat: “I knew he was struggling out there a little bit, and he knew I was struggling out there a little bit. But a lot of times, in situations like that, it’s a big advantage for me. Even though I appear to be very tired, I muster up enough enough energy to pop some big serves.”

Again, on the heat: “At the beginning of the second set it felt like somebody threw us in the oven.” 

On looking tired: “A lot of people tell me I play possum out there, and I may do that. But I’m not breaking the rules by any means. I’m lollygagging around between points but  when we start the point I’m ready. A lot of times when I’m super tired I’ve played some of my best tennis because at that point I don’t have enough energy to run side to side. There’s only one option for, and that’s to just go for it.”

On heat compared to Atlanta Athletic Club(tourney site 2010): “I don’t think anything is ever going to get to that level. We could have made scrambled eggs on that court for sure.” 

On whether not he’ll be able to walk his dog(with him at tourney site) tonight: “Yes actually(laughing), I will. Last night I went to bed at almost 1:30 in the morning. Tonight I’ll go to bed at a normal time, walk the dog, and that puts me at ease.” 

Marinko Matosevic–Only a couple quotes, but they tell the story.

On the heat: “It was really hot. (He said emphaticallly) I would say it was as hot as the 43 degree celsius day this year in Australia when I played Nishikori, if not hotter. The sun was on your head and you couldn’t escape it.”

On whether or not Isner was playing possum: “No no no no no, he was definitely tired.” 

Dudi Sela–A very interesting match between he and Vasek Pospisil, which featured medical time-outs from both players, and some very high quality play, and some very low quality play. Sela pulled it out 7-5 1-6 6-2, recording his 100th tour level win.

On 100th tour level win: “I didn’t know that. Wow.(laughing) Yeah, that’s good. It’s nice to get your 100th win when you’re a break down in the third.”

On why he took MTO: “To do some thinking with myself about what I have to do. To relax.”

On incredible backhand winner on match point: “For me it’s my best shot, the backhand. So I’m happy I finished it off with a good backhand.”

On serving(said yesterday that he was “serving terrible”): “It was even worse than terrible(laughing). It was not good at all. I was already thinking about the second serve (before I hit the first serve).”

Benjamin Becker–The 33 year old has quietly cruised to the semifinals, today beating Thiemo De Bakker 6-4 6-2.

On his game: “It’s coming together. I’m feeling well, I’m playing well. The final in s-Hertogenbosch was big for me to gain some confidence, get some matches under my belt. The start of the year did not go the way I planned, but now I have the chance to play for another final, and that builds my confidence.”

On winning 83% of second serve points: “I think I was very consistent from the back, didn’t miss much. If I have that every match I have a very good chance to win, so that’s a good stat to have.”

On the chance of reaching another final at 33 years of age: “I know I’m at the end of my career, or at the later stages at least. Finals are not always around the corner, so obviously I want to take this opportunity and give it my best.” 

Jack Sock–The American took out Lukas Lacko 7-6(6) 6-2, and showed that he has matured greatly as player over the last 12 months. He looked confident, and was the stronger player mentally,

On finding a way to win: “It was a pretty rough start. He came out and was keeping the ball very deep, and pushed me behind the baseline. I just had to chip some returns back in play, extend some rallies, and I was able to do that and get the break at 4-5.”

On his spectacular one-handed backhand passing shot: “Against (Michael) Venus I had nearly the same ball, and hit it cross court, and I laced it pretty good. And the one today was really clean off the racket, so I had to look up at (my coach) and give him a smile because we had just been talking about it in the warmup.”

Quotes of the Day: Atlanta—–De Bakker, Anderson, Isner, Becker

I’m going to be experimenting with a new series for the site. Each day I’m live at an event, and have the chance to talk to players, I’m going to put out the best quotes from each player that day. I like to focus more on feature writing for The Tennis Nerds, and I know you guys can find a daily recap just about anywhere. So I hope I can give my readers some inside access into what the players are thinking and saying each day, rather than give a description of a match you probably watched yourself(because my readers are tennis nerds). Feedback is much appreciated, so just leave a comment or drop me a line on twitter.

Thiemo De Bakker–The Dutchman received a lucky loser after retiring in the final round of quallies. He upset two seed and last year’s finalist Kevin Anderson 6-4 7-5 in the round of 16 thursday.

On retirement from final round qualifying match: “I mean I knew there were Lucky Losers. I still did not want to lose. I tried to play the match normally but after 3 or 4 games my neck was starting to get stiff. I won the first set but it got worse. I’m competitive, I wanted to win the match, but I didn’t want to make the (injury) worse.”

Why he dropped in the rankings: “A lot of things(happened). I wasn’t ready mentally. I struggled with the practices. I just wasn’t ready to handle the pressure. Tennis was a hobby, and I didn’t really think about what I was doing. At the end of the year I got tired and I didn’t want to practice hard.”

Kevin Anderson–Rough day at the office for the South African. He faced 13 break points, a very high number for him and his big serve.

On his struggles thursday: “I definitely didn’t feel like my normal self out there, especially on the serve. I guess (I’ve had) a few weeks off, and I didn’t feel, in that match, a competitive mindset at all. Sometimes having a bye and playing a guy who has already played a few matches (can be tough). I felt a step behind the whole match.”

On scheduling: “I’m trying to give myself a few more breaks throughout the year, and take care of my body. You look at all the top guys; they’re playing fewer tournaments and that’s definitely my goal.”

On De Bakker’s play: “I thought he played quite well. He was picking my serve, swinging out a little bit. That made me feel like I needed to go for a bit more.”

John Isner–By far the best match of the day was contested between Isner and Robby Ginepri. Isner pulled it out 4-6 7-6(5) 7-5, saving two match points at 4-5 in the third set. He closed the match out with 4 straight aces. The Atlanta crowd was very engaged throughout.

On pluses/minuses of having first round bye: “Having a bye is nice, but at the same time your playing somebody who already knows the court and won a match. It’s not easy at all.”

On mindset when match point down: “Just pick a spot, and hit it. (Ginepri) was guessing quite a bit. When he guessed right on my serve, it came back every time. I got a little lucky. On the first one he guessed “T”, I served wide. On the second one, he guessed wide, I served “T”. It’s really a coin flip.”

On court speed: “It’s playing a little fast. It’s tough to get a rhythm. Especially with (Robby), he’s taking the ball early and not giving me much time.”

On Marinko Matosevic, his quarterfinal opponent: “He’s good on fast courts. He’s a little bit wacky, and he would probably say the same thing as well. He’s a character, I think he’s good for our game.”

On if getting new balls to serve out the match helped: “Yeah, I didn’t realize at first (that I was getting new balls). I’ll take serving 6-5 with new balls every day of the week.”

Benjamin Becker–The 33 year old German played exceptionally well against a quality opponent, Yen-Hsun Lu. He took the match in straights 6-4 6-3, winning 86% of first serve points.

On his performance in the match: “I think we both played well. It was a close encounter, he had some chances early on, but I saved them, and then capitalized on my first break point. He hits pretty hard and returns well, so I had to try and not let him dictate the points.”

On playing in the US: “I like it here, obviously. I live here, played in college here on hard courts, and (the surface) suits my game.”

On the offseason: “I try to relax, give my body a rest, get the batteries charged again. I try to hang out with my family, which I don’t get much time to do during the season. All of those things fire me up.”

On De Bakker, his quarterfinal opponent: “We all know he is very talented guy. His ranking (does not represent) how good  he actually is. He can play well and it’s going to be a tough match.”

 

 

SERIOUSLY, give me some feedback. Was this interesting or boring? Yes/No to continue the series?

Sela Into the Quarterfinals, Finally Trumps Big Server

Sela lines up his signature backhand.

Sela lines up his signature backhand.

Dudi Sela has had a tough time with tall, big serving players this year. He’s played John Isner once, losing in a third set tiebreak, and Ivo Karlovic three times, on each instance falling in straight sets with at least one tiebreak. Last week in Bogota, Columbia, after losing an incredibly tight match to Karlovic, Sela, who stands at 5’9,  brought a chair to the net, stood up  on it, and gave his good friend a hug. The tennis world embraced him for his sense of humor.

This week in Atlanta, he’s showing the tennis world that he’s not just a funny guy, but also a great player. He defeated Sam Querrey in dominant fashion, 6-2 6-4. The crowd attendance in Atlanta was fantastic(concert night), but Sela silenced them early, breaking the big serving American’s serve at 2-all in the first set. He was reading Querrey’s serve very well, and anytime Sam missed a first delivery, Sela was all over him. Querrey only won 6 of his 26 second serve points(23%) in the match, a shocking percentage for a 6’6 player.

Sela said afterwards that the game-plan was simple going into the match.

“When the rally is (extended), I think I am the favorite,” Sela said. “I tried to keep the ball in play, and when I had opportunities, I moved him around.”

Querrey is the second American that Sela has defeated this week; he crushed Atlanta favorite Donald Young 6-3 6-0 in the first round. The Israeli number one is a small guy, but has a beautiful one-handed backhand. He takes the racket back very high so he’s able to hit the high ball with the best of ‘em. Anytime he has can set up that shot, his opponent is in trouble. The forehand is no joke either, with Sela generating a lot of pace for his size.

Looking at the scoreline, one would think that Sela was happy with his performance. However, he said he could still improve vastly in this tournament.

“I served terrible,” Sela said. “I’m going to practice my serve a lot tomorrow.”

Sela was in a great mood talking to the press, cracking jokes often.

Sela was in a great mood talking to the press, cracking jokes often.

He was rolling in first serves around 95 m.p.h., but was still in control of nearly every point from the baseline. Querrey could never find a rhythm, and was frustrated all night long.

“I couldn’t get anything going,” Querrey said emphatically. “It was pretty bad all around. Lately I’ve had days where I get up and nothing is working, and today was one of those days. I was struggling to make the most routine forehands.”

Querrey said he had felt the same way yesterday in his doubles match; he was unable to keep the ball in the court. His best chance to get back in the match was when he broke back for 3-all in the second, with the Atlanta crowd yelling out in support. Even then, Querrey knew he wasn’t playing well.

“It was a game where he had three errors. I was just pushing the ball in. It wasn’t a break-back game where I was aggressive and made a couple big forehands. It was still going to be a struggle from that point,” Querrey said.

From that point on, it was all Sela. He closed the match out by crushing a few backhands. Sela’s hilarious and touching embrace with Karlovic last week was seen worldwide, and even made SportsCenter. He talked more about that moment after his match wednesday.

“Ivo and I are very good friends. I was thinking of taking the chair and serving it from the baseline, but the match was too close,” he said laughingly. Just imagine how epic that would have been.

Sela will play Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the quarterfinals, and is looking to reach his first tour level final of 2014. Sela has reached many quarterfinals this year, and said that he thought he had been playing well all year, except for the clay season.

“It’s not my surface. We have not one clay-court in Israel,” Sela said jokingly.

He may not have been the crowd favorite wednesday night, but he sure won over some fans wednesday(including this writer) with his gorgeous backhand and great personality.

Pasha Competes Well, Falls Short in First ATP Main Draw Singles Match

Pasha's serve topped out at 137 MPH

Pasha’s serve topped out at 137 MPH

One week ago, Nathan Pasha, a rising senior at the University of Georgia, was teaching tennis to youngsters at The John Beck Tennis Academy in Bogart, Georgia. He needed to make money to pay bills for his new off-campus house at UGA. However, a few days ago Pasha got a call from Atlanta tournament director Eddie Gonzalez, and he was offered a main draw wild card. Austin Smith was scheduled to get the WC, but he entered a futures event the same week and was forced to withdraw. Pasha couldn’t say no.

“I found out four days ago. I had been teaching for about two and half weeks, and that’s all I had been doing. So when I found out I tried to get back in shape, find some timing, and get ready as best I could in about three days,” Pasha said.

He had played a couple of futures events in June, including a run to the semifinals in Buffalo. But that combined with a long college tennis season had Pasha burnt out. He needed a break from tennis. Obviously playing an ATP event was good enough reason to interrupt that break.

Pasha played Slovakian Lukas Lacko tuesday, his first ever match against a top 100 player. Pasha has a similar build to frenchman Gael Monfils. He stands at 6’3, is lanky but strong, and his athleticism is incredible. His explosive movement is a sight for suffering American tennis fans’ eyes. In the first game of the match, Pasha hit the hardest serve of the tournament at that point. He blasted one down “T” at 136 M.P.H., and was averaging about 128 throughout the match.

Having only three days to prepare, it was clear that Pasha was a little off timing-wise, especially on the forehand side, where he has a very slight hitch in his backswing. He made quite a few errors off that side in the first set, as Lacko simply outclassed him from the baseline. The first set was over in 27 minutes, with Lacko taking it 6-2.

The second set started in similar fashion, with Lacko, who is a very pure ball striker, dominating nearly every exchange. But slowly Pasha started getting his foot into the match, extending rallies and mixing in the slice. His forehand is a plus shot when he gets it right, and at 4-3 in the second set, it started to click. He hit two inside-in winners to break Lacko, giving him a 5-3 lead, and let out a big yell of emotion. With the crowd behind him, he had a chance to serve out the set.

From there, things went downhill fast. He double-faulted four times to get broken straight back, and only won 2 of the final 18 points in the match, losing the second set 5-7. He admitted afterwards that nerves got the best of him.

“I’ve been playing tennis for 15 years. I have to make serves in that situation. It was all mental,” Pasha said. “I saw the finish line and I freaked out.”

Regardless, there is a lot of upside for Pasha, and he knows that a match like this can give him valuable experience for the future.

“I think in those situations I just need to slow down, take my time,” Pasha said. I’m sure Manny (Diaz) will talk to me about it and how I can learn from it.”

To play in your premier ATP World Tour singles match on only three days of preparation is extremely difficult, and a 6-2 7-5 scoreline is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Pasha has one year left at Georgia, where he’ll look to lead a stacked Bulldogs lineup to their first national championship  since a John Isner lead squad in 2007.

He said that he’s going to keep teaching tennis for the rest of the summer, make as much money as he can, and then prepare for his senior season. His life is vastly different than everybody else in the main draw of Atlanta.

When asked what he would take away form the match, Pasha was candid.

“I’m not gonna freak out.”

Smyczek Opens Atlanta Campaign in Dominant Fashion

Smyczek serving in the second set.

Smyczek serving in the second set.

Tim Smyczek defeated fellow American Ryan Harrison 6-0 6-2 in the first round of the BB&T Atlanta Open tuesday, needing only 53 minutes to secure the victory.

Harrison, who looked OK in his doubles match yesterday, was clearly suffering from some sort of illness, as well as blisters on his left foot. Regardless, the Wisconsin native looked sharp from start to finish, breaking serve five times, while holding his serve with relative ease the entire match. Smyczek, a favorite among many readers of this site, spoke with The Tennis Nerds and other reporters after the match.

“It was pretty clear that he wasn’t moving his best. Usually he moves very well, so I knew something was up,” Smyczek said.

Playing an injured opponent can often times be very difficult mentally, but Smyczek stayed focused throughout.

“I went out there with a really clear game-plan, and frankly that didn’t change much with him not moving so well. I’m really happy with the way I focused and I think there’s a lot of positives to take from this match,” Smyczek said. “It’s not easy to beat anybody that scoreline at this level, even if he is hurt.”

The man most call “Smee” has had a tough 2014 season. After reaching a career high ranking of 73 late last fall, he has suffered from injuries as well as mixed results. After reaching the semifinals in Maui, Smyczek was having shoulder problems, and that set him back a couple weeks. The main roadblock was knee-surgery that took place two months ago.

“It was a long road back. I came back quickly, but it took a while for me to feel like I was moving like I’m used to. But now I’m really happy with the way I’m feeling physically on the court,” Smyczek said, adding that he went through a good training block with coach Billy Heiser just before Wimbledon.

Smyczek is most remembered for his five set thriller against Marcel Granollers at the 2013 US Open, where he was the last American man standing in the draw. He talked about his desire to return to those stages.

“That’s what we play for, especially as an American. It was an honor to play in front of a lot of fans who were behind me. So that’s what we’re shooting for, to get back to that stage,” Smyczek said.

(Five fans wearing “S-M-Y-!-!” t-shirts were especially passionate that night)

The American stands at about 5’9, but he has a forehand that can do serious damage, as well as a rock solid backhand that is very flat and skids through the court. Smyczek served exceptionally well tuesday, making 81% of his first serves. Don’t be fooled, just because he’s small doesn’t mean he can’t crank it up to about 130 mph. (Referred to as “Smee-Bombs”) If that continues, look for him to have a lot of success in this tournament. He mentioned that a win like this could springboard him to greater success.

He will face off against Australian Marinko Matosevic in the second round. Matosevic also dispatched his opponent, Victor Estrella-Burgos, by the same exact scoreline, 6-0 6-2.

The two have met twice at the challenger level, each player holding one win. They last met in 2012 in Sarasota, where Smyczek won a tight three setter, 7-6(6) in the third.

“I know his game well,” Smyczek added. “He’s a great player, very steady but he has weapons. It’ll be tough.”

Sock And Pospisil Maintain Focus on Singles Despite Doubles Success

Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil shocked the tennis world with their dream title run at the All England Club, defeated the Bryan brothers in a great five set final. Nicknames for the Canadian-American pairing have been free-flowing since such as “PopSock” and “VaSocktemy.” They are now in position to qualify for the World Tour Finals in London, as long as they remain in the top 20 in the doubles race. They spoke with the media in Atlanta Tuesday about their experience at Wimbledon and ambitions for the rest of the season.

One of the funnier moments was when Sock and Pospisil changed sides so that Pospisil could sit on the duece side, and Sock on the Ad side, just as they play in doubles. Sock jokingly told the Canadian that “I’ve never looked at you from that side, it was weird.”

PopSocks performance at Wimbledon was certainly unexpected, and they were the first to admit their surprise.

“At the beginning of the tournament obviously we were playing very loose and pretty relaxed. We were having fun out there, and playing some good tennis. Once we got the quarters, semis, we knew we could do something special,” Sock said.

The pairing acknowledged that making the World Tour Finals was something they were excited about, but insisted that they were more focused on their singles performances for the rest of 2014.

“When both of our singles schedules match up we’ll play doubles together, but for now singles is still both of our number one priorities,” Pospisil said.

“It’s a side goal, but still a big goal for us, reaching the year end championships. Doubles is a lot of fun for me, it allows me to relax on the court,” Sock reiterated. Obviously I would like to do well in singles at the slams.”

Patrick McEnroe, general manager of player development for the USTA, echoed Sock’s comments. He said that the doubles success was great to see, but singles is still something that needs a lot of improvement, especially on the men’s side.

“We’re looking to get a lot better. You look at guys like Jack (Sock) and Ryan (Harrison), they’ve been out there a couple years, but they’re still quite young. They still have a lot of upside.”

Sock opens his campaign in Atlanta against Alejandro Gonzalez, while Pospisil will play the winner of Illya Marchenko and John Patrick Smith after receiving a first round bye.

The Most Intriguing Tennis Match That Nobody Saw

Jared Donaldson. Daniel Cox. To the average tennis fan, these two names have absolutely no significance whatsoever. In fact, unless you’re a consistent follower of the challenger tour, odds are you’ve never heard of them. They faced off in the round of 16 at the Binghamton challenger wednesday night, and there were, undoubtably, very few watching. Binghamton, a short drive from Ithaca College(I may or may not attend this great institution), is far from a tennis hotbed. Perhaps the most notable/recent sporting occurrence in the area was the Binghamton Mets(New York Mets AA Affiliate) appearing on ESPN’s “Not Top 10.” You get the picture. What unfolded on the sparsely attended center court was nothing short of fascinating.

These two unheralded(and that’s putting it kindly) tennis players are very much the opposite of one another. Cox, a 23 year old from England, is generously measured by the ATP at 5’7, and had been battling predominately on the futures circuit for the last five or so years. He’s won 12 titles at professional tennis’ lowest tier, and because of that, his ranking has improved steadily to the low 200′s. He recently played in the biggest match of his career at Wimbledon, where he took a set off of world no. 37 Jeremy Chardy, before falling in 4 tight sets. Because his ranking has improved, he can now play challengers on a regular basis, and wednesday he was looking to reach his third challenger quarterfinal of 2014.

Jared Donaldson, in contrast,  is a 17 year old American, who is already 6’2, and still growing. Donaldson, who comes from a wealthy family, is one of a handful of young American juniors to have been touted at a future star. In February of 2013, he contemplated quitting tennis. After consulting with a sports psychologist, he decided against it. Donaldson was the runner up at the 2013 Kalamazoo nationals, and received a wildcard(speaking of wildcards….heh, read this) into the qualifying draw at the US Open, where he won two matches before falling in the third and final round. Obviously this created a lot of excitement, and rightfully so. The recent struggles that American male tennis players are having is something we hear just about every week, so I won’t babble on about that. Donaldson earned 16 ranking points in his first grand slam appearance, and with that came the opportunity to test the waters at the professional level. Over the last 10 months Jared has performed very well, and coming into wednesday’s encounter, he was on a 16 match winning streak, winning two futures titles and seeing his ranking reach a career high no. 343. He’s the number three ranked 17 year old, behind only Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric.

As I tuned into the stream, with the great Mike Cation on the call, I was vaguely interested. I’m on vacation at the beach, but figured I should watch Donaldson’s match and see how he’s progressed. Yes, I am a tennis nerd.

Cation was also looking forward to seeing how both would perform.

“I was thinking it was going to be one  of those matches where we see quite a few 10-15 stroke rallies. And frankly, I thought Cox was going to have the better end of it because I wasn’t sure if Donaldson could stay in the points long enough,” Cation said.

Early proceedings were dominated by the young American, who quickly jumped out to a 4-1 lead. A plus forehand and a vastly improved backhand were on a full display, with Donaldson hitting winners left and right. There wasn’t really much Cox could do, as Donaldson was dictating the vast majority of points. The two shots that really stood out for Jared were his powerful inside-out forehand, and a flat yet precise backhand down the line. He was hardly pushed on serve, and closed out the first set 6-2.

Cox is pretty much the definition of a grinder, or as he says, a “grafter”. He fights for every ball and tries to extend rallies. The longer it goes, the better for the Brit. Things were not going well for a set and a half, but slowly he was starting to get his foot in the door. At about this point the real drama of the match started to unfold. Donaldson was not happy with more than a few line calls, a fairly normal thing for a 17 year old tennis player. If you watch a junior or college tennis match you will see a lot of complaining and badgering between opponents, but it’s not something you see very often at the pro level, unless your last name is Fognini.

“At the beginning of the second set you could tell Donaldson was getting loose, and he was questioning every call. It did remind me of a juniors match,” Cation said. “You just don’t see that at this level very often. Dan Cox was frustrated because he didn’t have many openings to break and at a certain point he just said ‘stop questioning every call’.”

I watching on a my laptop, and a many of the calls did appear close, but it did seem like every time a ball was close to the line Donaldson was talking to the chair umpire.

For the next few games, the extra-curricular stuff remained relatively quiet, as Donaldson appeared to get Cox’s message. Jared had a few opportunities to break serve late in the second set, but could not convert. At 4-all, he went off the rails. The forehand that had been so effective suddenly couldn’t find the court. Cox broke and served out the set fairly easily. The rallies were starting to get longer, and Cox was now fully into the match, both physically and emotionally. He was the one who was pumping himself up.

The Brit broke to 2-1 in the third set, and then more drama ensued. As Cox served to consolidate the break, he started looking up and gesturing behind the court to Jared’s dad, Courtney Donaldson. Courtney had been clapping after his son was winning points, and that is also very normal. But Cox took exception, and yelled to the senior Donaldson that he shouldn’t be clapping after unforced errors. The one-sided banter ensued for the rest of that game, with Cox the only one engaging.

“I was not expecting anything like that. I would describe Dan as scrappy, but I’ve never seen him verbally engage in that manner during a match. It got ugly,” said Cation, who prefaced his comments by saying he thought that Courtney was not in the wrong.

I spoke to Courtney Donaldson after the match, and he described his perspective on the situation.

“I clapped for a point Jared won, and to be honest I don’t remember a mis-hit or a net chord in the point and I clapped and to be honest so did most of the other people.  It was a long point and I was happy to see Jared win the point and  he took offense.  But I left it at that.  As much as he was spouting off I just looked straight ahead and said nothing. I didn’t want to interject into the match. He was upset and in my opinion was for a lack of a better term un-professional but it is what is is he was in the middle of an intense match and lost his composure,” Donaldson said.

Who was right and who was wrong is really up to you. Brad Gilbert saw Cox on a regular basis from 2006-2008 while at the Lawn Tennis Association(LTA), and described Cox as somebody who was always “a feisty little guy on the court.”

To be honest, after Cox battled through a long service game to hold 3-1, I thought Donaldson would fold. He seemed to be on the edge, and after failing to break back he could have let it all go. But he fought hard, and made the rest of the match very exciting. He had chances to break in two more of Cox’s service games, but just couldn’t find a way to finish at the biggest moments. Cox closed the match out 6-4 in the third, and was very excited about his performance, giving a couple extended fist pumps. The post-match handshake was brief, but clean.

Tennis is a sport that can be intriguing at every level, from recreational to professional, and this match was a great example of that. A look at the scoreline and one would presume that it was just another tennis match, but it wasn’t. Every single point from about the second set on was tense, competitive, and fun. There was drama, high quality tennis, and a little comedy as well. What more could a fan ask for?

For Donaldson, his potential is overwhelming. He has all the tools to be a top player, and it might not be long before we see him at the big leagues. But we have to realize that he is a 17 year old, and he still has a lot of time to grow.

“The whole time I was saying to myself, ‘this is just part of the mental maturity that will certainly come for (Jared)’,” Cation added.

“Jared loves to compete, improve and play tennis. He enjoys the success but doesn’t let it affect his development,” father Courtney said.

As for Cox, he’s on to the quarterfinals, where a very winnable match against Darian King awaits. I hope the few of you who saw the match enjoyed it as much as I did