The eighth Player to Watch for 2014 is the fifth former ITF World Junior #1 to be featured. Not that junior success is a firm predictor of future success, of course, but it clearly was a main criterion for selection — even subconsciously — this year.

Now, some will accuse me of picking this player just because of the numerous and nearly irresistible punning opportunities he provides. (And those people would only be 43.6% correct.)

But really, we need to convince our inner twelve-year-olds to get beyond the first four letter of his surname and instead zero in on the fourth full year of his pro career, which is coming up next year. Besides, it’s not like he’s this guy:

Things Are Looking Up For Slovenian Basketballer Gregor Fucka

Things Are Looking Up For Slovenian Basketballer Gregor Fucka

So let’s just get over it and clear our minds and hearts to welcome my eighth Player to Watch for 2014, Mr. Marton Fucsovics. (Although, it should be said, his nickname of “Marci” is only marginally less make-funnable.)

Marci?

Marci?

A 2010 singles winner at the The Junior Championships, Wimbledon (defeating Ben Mitchell) as well as singles semifinalist in New York and Melbourne and a US Open boys doubles titlist, the 21-year-old Hungarian lad is finally coming on after his “lost year” of 2011 (in which, some say, he let his ITF-page professed love of girls and motorbikes get in the way of his tennis and training).

Hungary Like The Wolf

Hungary Like The Wolf

As a kid, he wanted to play basketball, but the 6’2” (188 cm) right-hander from the easy-to-pronounce city of Nyiregyhaza found a greater affinity with tennis as he got older. Then came the girls and motorbikes and – after his junior Slammin’ exploits — going the Gulbis route of, er, celebrating his success a bit too much, all to the tune of a 21/18 season at Futures level in 2011.

He actually did a meet-and-beat* with Mr. Gulbis in a five-set April-of-2012 Davis Cup match, but couldn’t seem to kick on from there, making his first Futures finals but finishing the ’12 campaign at #441 in the rankings (up 132 spots on the year).  Around that time, though, he finally recommitted himself and got back to working hard at the game he can play so well.

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