In this installment of our Question and Answer series, I had the chance to ask American young gun Chase Buchanan some questions. Chase spent 3 years at THE Ohio St. University, winning the NCAA doubles title in 2011 and the 2010 and 11 Big Ten Player of the Year. In 2009, Chase won the National Junior Boys Tournament in Kalamazoo earning him a wild card to the US Open. I watched him play Jo – Wilifried Tsonga there and while the result wasn’t what we wanted, it was a great experience for then an 18-year-old rising star. Now 22, Buchanan has matured and is ready to make an impact on tour. It was a pleasure to hear from him and hope you enjoy!
You have been playing full time on the pro tour for a little more than a year now, and recently won 2 titles in South America. What has been the biggest reason for your recent success?
The biggest reason for my recent success is a better mindset and willingness to go out of my comfort zone. I came ready to play every match regardless of the conditions.
Watching you play in Rochester over the years has been awesome. How has your game and work ethic changed over the years since you first started playing on the tour?
I’d say in the last year and a few months I’ve really learned that I want to play tennis for a long time. And therefore my passion has grown and I have really wanted to start putting all the necessary work into my tennis. It’s become more and more fun and I’m learning a lot recently.
A lot of criticism this year has been directed towards the lack of a dominant US player, or players. What do you think the state of American tennis is at the moment?
I think the state of American tennis is brighter than the average fan knows. A lot of my friends are in position to break into the top 100 and start making a name for themselves and there are more to come after them. We as Americans are working hard to get to the top.
What is the strongest part of your game right now? What is something you would like to improve on as the off-season approaches?
The strongest part of my game is probably my return. I have always loved returning serve and believe if I’m returning well it is going to be hard to beat me. In the offseason I want to improve my fitness level and serve. Along with everything else, but those are two goals for sure.
James Blake has always been my favorite player growing up. Did you have any role models growing up? And who has had the biggest influence on your game today?
My role model growing up was probably Agassi, so cool to watch the change he went through during his career. Also, the things he has done post tennis are very admirable and I wish to be able to do even a shade of what he has done. The biggest influence on my game today is probably my junior coach Al Matthews whom I worked with from when I started until I was about 17 and am still in touch with today. Other major influences have been Ohio State head coach Ty Tucker and mentor David Kass.
You were very successful in college tennis for your 3 years as a Buckeye. How has your experience at THE Ohio St. University helped you during your young pro career?
My college career really has given me a better perspective on life and how tough being a pro is. The university is such an incredible institution for developing and learning that I can’t say enough.
You have played the US Open a couple times now, how was that experience for you and what was it like not playing in it this year?
The US Open is one of the most surreal events in the world for me. I have gotten to see up close the top professionals which has helped me train and learn. Missing it this year hurt. I thought that I should have been in on my own ranking into the qualifying and I wasn’t which I was very disappointed in. It has also given me much motivation for the next year. I plan on being their next year and years to come.
You are at a career high in the rankings right now at #320, what short and long term goals have you set for yourself?
My short term goals are to put the wins I’ve had recently in the past and be humble and ready for the next events. They mean nothing now because it’s a new week. So I’m just focused on the next day. Long term I want to be playing in grand slam main draws and having opportunities on the big stage.
And here’s the one we are asking everyone. What has been your favorite tournament to play at and where is your favorite place to eat there?
Obviously the snack bar TCR is my favorite after the Mancuso’s home cooked meals. I’d have to say my favorite place to play is New York. There are some incredible restaurants in NY that I’ve gone to.
We would like to thank Chase for his interview! As for action on tour, Gilles Simon defeated Tsonga in the final of Metz. It’s good to see Jo Willy back on tour in full form. And Joey’s boy Ernie Gulbis won his fourth career title in St. Petersburg, defeating Guillermo Garcia – Lopez in 3 sets in the final. And another good bit of news, one of our recent interview players, Tenys Sandgren won the doubles title in a challenger this past weekend in Turkey, partnering up with Austin Kraijcek to take the title. We will be back this week with more interviews and action from around the world and the big challenger in Napa, California!