Big Questions. Short Answers.
James Duckworth, the 26 year old Aussie, reached a career high #82 in the ATP Singles Rankings just before injuries derailed his career. 5 Surgeries and 18 months of rehab later, James is at the US Open, on a protected ranking, making his dream happen. We talk about chickens on practice courts in Turkey, playing Marin Cilic at Roland Garros, and the mentality that keeps him happy and hungry through it all!
I met Apostolos and Stefanos while playing Futures in Heraklion, Greece in 2015; today I caught up with Apostolos at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. after Stefanos beat David Goffin. Stefanos is now #15 in the world, and I was pumped to pick the brain of Apostolos to see how he did it. We talk about fear, and why it's stupid to be afraid of your goals; how he created a mindset for himself and Stefanos, and how he plans on winning Grand Slams in the future! Enjoy, and remember, "Your dreams inside you are you. You have to go and live them. It's stupid to live afraid."
It's one thing to study doubles, and what makes the top guys the top guys, but it's a totally different world once you get on court against them. They're fast and strong, sure, but what's most impressive and elusive on TV is how smart they are. They plan every point, and they practice exactly what they need to win. There is no wasted time on a practice court with them. Jean Julien Rojer, Wimbledon and US Open Doubles Champion, talked with me about how he trains, and why he trains that way. Hope this info helps you in your journey!
Mitch and I talked on site at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. He had just qualified, a big moment for him, and the Petkovic match started behind us mid-interview. We talked about how he separates himself as a player, what his mentality is like as he tries to break through the challenger level, and whether or not winning a Grand Slam is in his line of vision. Of course it is, he's a competitor. Hope you enjoy getting to know Mitch!
Artem Sitak has built one of the most impressive careers on the ATP Tour. He started playing Futures in 2002, and by 2014 he was ranked #290 in Singles and #450 in Doubles; at 28 years old, he realized something had to change if his career was going to continue. A full commitment to doubles, he decided, was his way to the top of the game. Now, 4 years later, the Auckland native is #35 in the ATP Doubles Rankings and has 4 ATP Titles to his name. We talk about the mentality he has, how his training changed, and what other players can learn from him about making the switch from singles to doubles. It's all about focused, efficient work; that can be applied to any undertaking, I hope this helps you on your way.
Henri Kontinen, the 28 year-old from Helsinki, Finland is right around the peak of his career. He's been #1 in the world, and he's won the Australian Open and 19 other ATP events. I caught up with him at the Citi Open, in Washington D.C. and he couldn't stress enough how he's never worried about rankings or points. He thinks improvement is the most important thing to focus on, because you can't fake how good you are. You can win and lose matches here and there, but you can't sustain a high level without being seriously good, and that is still the mindset he has today. Hope you enjoy, and I hope you can learn to think similarly in your field.
Hunter Koontz played college tennis at Virginia Tech, and is now a teaching pro at Virginia Country Club. He decided not to give pro tennis a shot because he didn't think he was good enough, but after his showing against ATP #290 Vincent Millot, he's reconsidering. He won a Wild Card tournament into the Citi Open Qualifying, and gave Millot a hard, 3-set battle. Here is his story, hope you enjoy!