(The players you should know)
(The players you should know)
This week it's the Irishman, Peter Bothwell! Pete is 22 and has been playing Futures for a while, and it seems that right now he is starting to hit his stride. He's gotten to the doubles final for three straight weeks, and this week finally took the title alongside Neil Pauffley. Pete's got three Futures doubles titles to his name, one of which I was there to see in Tunisia, with Lloyd Glasspool. Having known Pete the little bit that I do, I'd say he's one of the hardest workers I know, a terrible volleyball player (remember Sharm? haha), and a good dude. Pete, good on ya man- keep it rollin!
If you don't know this buns, you will soon! Shane was ranked as high as #19 in the world as a Junior, and got the Boys Doubles Final at Roland Garros in 2011. A Texas native, he went on to be a stand out for the Texas A&M Aggies for four years. I roomed with Shane for 3 weeks in the Dominican Republic in December, and I couldn't be happier that he's starting to climb the rankings and win some tournaments! He had a breakout even, getting to the semis after I got my flight home, and then he did really well in India (he wanted to play in Portugal, but I lobbied hard for India) so really he owes me for that! Either way, last week he and Harrison Adams (also a Texas A&M product) won the 25k Doubles in Canada, which earned him the prestigious Player of the Week honor. Shane, keep doing it man!
A Peachtree City, Georgia native, Kevin King was an All-American at Georgia Tech and reached the NCAA rankings of #2 and #7 in Doubles and Singles, respectively. After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2012, he went out to play Futures and try his luck. Since 2012, Kevin has won 8 Futures Doubles Titles, 3 Challenger Doubles Titles, 5 Futures Singles Titles and now 1 Challenger Singles Title after he took the trophy last week at the Cary, North Carolina Challenger. Last year Kevin was out almost all of 2016 because he underwent hip surgery; it's awesome to see him coming back better than ever. A great story for sure, but don't think King is a random flash in the pan, he's proved himself since college and I'm sure he will continue to as a Pro.
A University of Michigan Grad, Evan King, is on fire! This week he qualified for the US Open, his first Singles appearance at a Grand Slam. He beat, Caruso, Olivo, and Michael Mmoh, all ranked higher than King, to Qualify and now he’s set to play Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the first round main draw. King has been hot all Summer, Qualifying for his first ATP 250 in Mexico and winning his first round before losing to World #24 Sam Querrey 7-6 in the third. I was with Evan at Futures in the Dominican Republic in January of this year; I wouldn’t have thought any of us would be playing the Open in August. I remember being impressed by the way he competed, and how he analyzed the match while we were sitting watching a friend play. What a year it’s been for him, and what an inspiration he is for the rest of us!
Scott is a 26 year old from the Netherlands who was as high as #282 in Singles and #419 in Dubs. Right now he's at #742 and #1603, but on his way back up the rankings quickly! This week he won the Singles and the Dubs at the Oldenzaal Futures, beating Former Top 50 player Thiemo de Bakker on the way. Two weeks ago he won another Futures in Riga, Latvia, so Scott is clearly finding his game; look for him to be back well inside the Top 500 again soon!
Liam Broady is a 23 year old from Stockport, England and this was his week! He has been ranked as highly as #158, in August of 2015, but has been injured and struggled since and now finds himself at #336. 2017 has been a good year for him so far, and this week he came through Qualies and got to the Finals of the Aptos Challenger beating Taylor Fritz along the way. He started his year playing Futures in Turkey, then has played mostly Challenger and ATP Qualies, racking up good wins along the way including a couple guys in the Top 100 and Frances Tiafoe. Broady has gotten hot towards the end of the summer and look for him to carry it through the hard courts the rest of August at least!
For the first ever “Player of the Week”, I’m giving it to 23-year old American, Alexios Halebian. Al has been playing professionally since 2010, and is currently ranked #698 in the ATP Singles Rankings and #675 in ATP Doubles. This week, he qualified for the Citi Open, an ATP World Tour 500 level event; his first to date.
I was with Al for two weeks of Futures in the Dominican Republic, where courts are terrible, good practice balls are hard to come by, and the days of sitting around the tennis center are long. When getting wifi long enough to call an Uber is a tough ask, qualifying for an ATP 500 seems a world away. What a feat by him to make it happen! He beat Wil Spencer and Marc Polmans to qualify, and then lost 3-6, 4-6 to World #119 Lukas Lacko. Cheers to an awesome week for Al, and some extra motivation for us to see him do it, hopefully he can keep rolling through the summer and may the days of Dominican Republic Futures be behind him!