In the third installment of our Question and Answer series we had the opportunity to talk with Tennys Sandgren, an up and coming player with a lot of American pride. He went to the University of Tennessee before turning pro, and recently received a main draw wildcard into the US Open. He’s definitely someone to look out for in the near future, and his answers were awesome. We hope you enjoy our conversation, and would really appreciate it if you guys shared with your friends.
Player: Tennys Sandgren (USA)
Current Ranking: 230
Turned Professional: 2011
Q: You turned professional in August of 2011. How hard was that decision? And what challenges have you faced trying to break into the ATP World Tour?
A: It was a really tough decision. I had a great set up at the University of Tennessee, but playing professional tennis has always been my dream. I felt like like I was ready to give it a try. Trying to break through to the top of the sport is very challenging. All the guys are very good so every match is a battle. The traveling is another tough aspect. It’s hard to get comfortable each week.
Q: One thing many people know about you is that you are a Tennessee Volunteer for life. What was your experience like those 2 years of college and how did it change you as a person?
A: I really enjoyed my time at UT. The coaching staff and team were my family by the end of my time there. I also got to spend a season with my older brother, who was in his senior year. I feel like I not only improved a great amount as a player, but it gave me time to mature as a person as well. I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything.
Q: You often tweet about American pride and how American Tennis fan’s need to be more passionate. We feel the same way. How do players like yourself react to all the negative talk in the media about the state of American Men’s tennis? Does it motivate you?
A: Heck yes it motivates me! All the American guys are working extremely hard to make it in this sport. The game is just so global. There are so many guys around the world playing at an elite level. It makes it all the more challenging to break through. Despite that, we have a lot of young American guys who are on the cusp of making big jumps. It just takes time to get the experience to make the little improvements necessary. The average age of the top 100 keeps getting older. I think the US men will be making even more noise in the next few years.
Q: You competed in the US Open qualifying for the third time this past month. It was a tough 3 set loss, but how much does playing in front of the NYC crowd inspire you?
A: Yeah I had a tough match at the Open. Almost pulled it out but just couldn’t make it happen. The crowd was a big help. They were really getting behind me in the 3rd set. I was disappointed not to get the win.
Q: What part of your game are you trying improve the most and why?
A: I would just like to get inside the top 100. That is my biggest career goal. That’s what I’m working towards everyday. I just want to keep doing everything I can to improve on a daily basis.
Q: And here’s the one we’re asking everybody. What is your favorite tournament, and where is the best place to eat there?
A: My favorite tournament I’ve played so far is the Knoxville challenger. I mean c’mon, it’s played on the UT courts! I’ve had some awesome memories there and I love being able to go back. My favorite restaurant there is a Brazilian steakhouse called Braseros. They have some of the best steaks around, and it’s unlimited. What’s not to love?
A big thanks to Tennys for doing this with us, and we look forward to putting out another Q&A in the next few days. More American youngsters coming!