On Day Number Four of our Players to Watch odyssey, I’m going to change things up. A lot.
So far, all of my Players to Watch have been righties. Today, we’re goin’ left. And all of 2014’s PTWs have been players from north of the equator. Today, we’re goin’ south.
Yesterday’s selection, Kyle Edmund, is a picture of comportment and calm. Today’s pick is so feisty that I contemplated making him a PTW a few years ago but promptly disqualified him due to his on-court behavior.
That said, this fiery South American lefty is so noisy and intense on the court that you cannot ignore him, even though you sometimes cringe internally (and cover your ears externally).
So, people, I ask you — are you ready for the David Souto experience? (Note: if you’re in the “tennis needs more personalities” camp, then you are.)
Let’s rewind the paragraph machine to 2011, when I first contemplated making the volcanic Venezuelan a Player to Watch. At the time, he was coming off a dynamic 42/24 first pro season of 2010, during which time he rose from #705 to #453 in the rankings. I arrived in Florida for the first four Futures of 2011, eager to see in person a talent I’d only seen on crappy streams.
Alas, after witnessing several spectacular meltdowns (that could make Lava look cold and inert by comparison), I decided I couldn’t fully endorse such a tempestuous talent. Details of those meltdowns are here and here, if you’re interested. (Now that I have the perspective that distance lends, it all seems at least a tiny bit hilarious.)