Tag Archive: Brydan Klein


As I was putting together a database of Challenger and Futures players in the Top 500, I compiled just about every available piece of info I could find. And I found that one of the more interesting data fields came from the players’ “Personal Interests”, as listed on their ITF Biography Pages.

If you’ve ever tried researching players outside the Top 200, you’ll probably know how hard it is to dig up any info other than results for said players.  While a large majority of the Top 200 enjoy a lavish paragraph or two on the ATP’s “Personal” profile tab*, often the only sense one can get of a tenniser’s multi-dimensionality comes from this part of their ITF page.

Now, a lot of these interests are fairly drab or predictable; almost 50% of players list either soccer or football, for example.  Or 15% list “golf”, for another. But some are interesting and unique enough that they bear special mention, which is what I’ll do in this post, expertly dividing them into neat-o sub-categories such as:

Lotharios

A few players naturally list “girls” as one of their personal interests (although, predictably, none list them as “women”) — Marton Fucsovics and Brydan Klein among them (insert your own joke here).

That Ball's About To Be Fucsed Up

That Ball’s About To Be Fucsed Up

But only two (2) (TWO!) players list them as “girls!” with an exclamation point: Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri and Israel’s Dudi Sela. If you’ve been following the news, you will find that to be either a remarkable coincidence or Proof Once And For All of God’s Unquestionable Existence.

Oh, and there’s one (very smart) player who knows on what side his croissant is buttered, and that’s Lucas Pouille. Because instead of “girls” or “girls!”, the 19-year-old Frenchman has: “Girlfriend.” Period.

"Ooh la la -- I know how zee croissant is butTAIRED"

“Ooh la la — I know how zee croissant is butTAIRED”

Moldovans

As with Jaziri and Sela, I noticed that Moldovans like ATP #171 Radu Albot and #379 Maxim Dubarenco are the only people who list “walking with friends” as a favored activity.  Not “hanging out with friends” or “visiting with friends” – walking with friends.  Actually, Albot is even more exclusive than Dubarenco is, as he wrote “walking with best friends”.

Maximum Velocity

Maximum Velocity

Are you merely a good friend to Radu? Or are you a best friend? Find out by seeing if he walks with you!

This Moldovan pattern is either further proof of a Universal Order, or just an indication that the Moldovans copied off of each other’s ITF profile questionnaires when they filled them out.

Scholars

In this increasingly digital age, where 1/4th of all players list one of “internet”, “computer” or “video games” as a main interest, it’s becoming rare to find readers on the tour.

Thus, I am singling out for special commendation Ricardas Berankis, Alejandro Falla, Andrey Golubev (who, in also listing “playing chess” as a favored pursuit, wins the title of Ultra-Nerd) and Uladzimir Ignatik.

"Hi, I'm Andrey Golubev! Have You Ever Read A Book Called "Hitting Back"?

“Hi, I’m Andrey Golubev! Have you ever read a book called “Hitting Back“?

Kimmer Coppejans lists “Manga” as an interest — that’s a kind of Japanese comic book, so I’ll give him half-credit.

Adventurers

One of the few luxuries of being outside the Top 100, I suppose, is that insurance clauses on multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements won’t limit you from your favorite, possibly career-ending adrenalized adventure pursuits.  Yay?

Continue reading

Advertisements

So.  Hello.  I’m pretty sure it’s not me you’re looking for either.  And I know I’m supposed to be driving to Florida right now, but the Northeast is getting slammed with snow – bamboozled by blizzard, we are! – so I’m (Tom) delayed for one more day. Which means, despite my procuring of the finest guest-hosting talents (and they are doing a spectacular job), you are stuck with me for one more day. I don’t know what to do with myself, other than sully my site with more of my words. Therefore, I proudly present to you my Australian Open men’s qualifying day one wrap-up – cabin fever edition:

I was able to wake up in the middle of the night and watch the livestream of the John Millman v Sebastian Rieschick match as well as the Greg Jones v Olivier Patience contest. Then I fell asleep again (sorry Gooch!) Turns out that Greg and the Mailman were the only Aussies to come good out of the twelve who played yesterday.

That’s right, two wins out of twelve. Maverick Banes, Matt Reid, Chris Guccione, Sean Berman, Sam Groth, James Duckworth, Ben Mitchell, Luke Saville, James Lemke, and Brydan Klein all lost. Ouch. All Ozzed up, and no place to go. In fairness, Mitchell’s effort (some of which I saw) was superb, taking top seeded Blaz Kavcic to 4-6 in the third set. And Saville lost to a red hot Nicola Mahut. 

Benny Mitchell – Will He Escape From Full Screen Mode?

So I’m especially glad to have seen the rare instances of Aussome success in all their glory. And they were glorious indeed. If ever a match could be called “classic John Millman”, this match vs. Rieschick was the one. The Mailman seemed dogged by the conditions early, and easily distracted by “fans” with highly questionable etiquette. His shots were landing short in the court, and his opponent was taking those short balls and teeing off, making more than he missed.

Thus, the amiable Queenslander found himself down a set and a break, with the burly German serving for the match, when he was granted a rain-delay reprieve. After an hour or so break, Milkman came out raring to go, a noticeable spring in his step that was absent pre-precip. Maybe he enjoyed some caffeine during his break. I offer this as evidence for my hypothesis:

Meanwhile, Rieschick was nowhere to be found, and ambled out onto the court a good five minutes or so after John did. When play resumed, Mailman overcame match point, shoddy line calls, and dodgy inter-game spectator migrations to break twice and take the second set 7-5. Rieschick also could no longer find the court – that helped, too.

The third set opened with three straight breaks, Sebastian settled a bit more into his game after an extended walkabout during the previous frame’s conclusion.

Continue reading

Australian Open Men’s Qualifying Preview!

I’m not sure if you know this, so let me tell you: Grand Slam draws are like crack to fans of the Challenger circuit. They’re like the ultimate Challenger event: a tourney featuring players ranked between 100 and 300, and nearly everyone plays. Granted, there are only three rounds instead of five, and it’s kinda like the tourney gets canceled halfway through, but my point stands: pretty much every challenger-level player of interest is here, gunning for a place in a grand slam main draw. What’s not to like?

And after a few glitches and false starts, the Australian Open men’s qualifying draw has finally been unlocked and unleashed upon unsuspecting (or, in my case, very suspecting) cybercitizens. And in my tried and true OCD-tinged maniacal fashion, I am here to break it all down for you. No info-nugget will remain unearthed, no useless factoid shall remain buried, no know-balls will remain unlobbed. (Huh? Well, you get the idea.)

Let’s dig in!

First Quadrant

Top Quarter:

Much as I want to be impressed by Blaz Kavcic’s Chennai Open showing (he beat Jeremy Chardy and destroyed Robert Kendrick before falling 3&3 in the quarters to Berdych), I’m gonna be silly right from the get go and say there are no obvious favorites in this segment. A line-by-line breakdown:

[1] Blaz Kavcic SLO (World Ranking #100) v [W] Benjamin Mitchell AUS (#610): a tough draw for the likeable 18-year-old Queenslander, but not a completely impossible task for the lad who made the final in Bendigo and took Brisbane International quarterfinalist Matt Ebden to two tough TB sets at the Tennis Australia AO Wildcard Playoffs (having a lead in both sets). I’ve seen both play their fair share of matches, and to my mind they’re similar in game, style, speed, grit and even countenance. Blaz just does everything a bit better than Ben does. Odds are extremely good Blaz beats Ben in straights. But I expect Mitchell to give a good account of himself, I really do.

Rik de Voest RSA (#179) v Laurent Recouderc FRA (#204): Recouderc won their only match 6-4 6-4 two years ago on hard courts in Dubai. The big South African, however, has had better recent results, reaching the semis of the Charlottesville Challenger and the quarters in Knoxville at the end of last year. So on recent form as well as ranking, I’ll buck the two-year-old head-to-head data and pick Rik. Kavcic has never played de Voest, but he manhandled Recouderc 2&0 last June on clay, if you want to hedge yer bets.

Greg Jones AUS (#254) v Olivier Patience FRA (#196): The two have never met before, but Greg’s gonna win this one. Based on absolutely no data at all. Just trust me on this one. I’m tired.

Guillermo Alcaide SPA (#216) v [25] Ilija Bozoljac SRB (#152): Bozoljac beat Alcaide pretty comprehensively 6-3 6-2 in a recent meeting at the US Open qualifying tournament. And even though the Spaniard has played more matches recently (and gave Tsung-Hua Hang a pretty good fight in the Brazil F1 QF’s), I’d expect Bozo to make it through to face Greg in the next round. Those two have never met neither.

Who makes it through: De Voest beats Bozoljac (what? He’s won the only two matches they’ve played!)

Second quarter: this is where Simone Bolelli tries not to screw things up, as is his wont. He faces some fairly formidable competition along the way, but they’re all people he should honestly beat. Will he? Probably not. Let’s have a closer look:

Continue reading

Yup.  It’s officially that time of year again.  More specifically, it’s time to start breaking down those qualifying draws and seeing which Challenger Tour players can bust into the main draws this week.  Just to make it clear from the outset: as this is a Challenger Tour site, we’ll be covering top-tier ATP events only to the extent that they involve players ranked outside the Top 90.  Note: this number, while a darn good number, is also just a bit arbitrary and is subject to change at the whims of any of the writers here.  But it’s a good general rule of thumb for ATP tourneys, in any case.

ON TO THE DRAW!  You can click and get an official .pdf with lines and whizbangs and suchlike here or you can just look at a typed out version after this here colon:

[1] MANNARINO, Adrian FRA vs BALL, Carsten AUS
POLANSKY, Peter CAN vs [WC] MITCHELL, Benjamin AUS
SERGEYEV, Ivan UKR vs ITO, Tatsuma JPN
CABAL, Juan Sebastian COL vs [5] KOUBEK, Stefan AUT
[2] BERANKIS, Richard LTU
vs LISNARD, Jean-Rene MON
KLEIN, Brydan AUS vs CRUGNOLA, Marco ITA
[WC] DUCKWORTH, James AUS vs TURSUNOV, Dmitry RUS
PEYA, Alexander AUT vs [6] LUCZAK, Peter AUS
[3] RUSSELL, Michael USA
vs HARRISON, Ryan USA
FARAH, Robert COL vs BACHINGER, Matthias GER
KINDLMANN, Dieter GER vs ZOPP, Jurgen EST
REYNOLDS, Bobby USA vs [7] KOROLEV, Evgeny KAZ
[4] GREUL, Simon GER
vs [WC] JONES, Greg AUS
KNITTEL, Bastian GER vs LOJDA, Dusan CZE
EBDEN, Matthew AUS vs CRIVOI, Victor ROU
[WC] GROTH, Samuel AUS vs [8] ZEMLJA, Grega SLO

  
Mmmmmm.  Tennis draws.  My true and delicious love.  Let me savour this one for a moment, eh? *drools Homer Simpson-style while looking it over*
 
Well, the first thing I notice is that the Aussies got shafted, for the most part.  Now, I realize that any time you have eight Australians in a 32-person draw, perfect distribution is just not a possibility.  However, to have a draw in which there’s an entire Oz-free quarter (i.e. the Russell-Korolev 3rd quarter) and another two quarters that have three Down Under dudes, well… this is less than ideal. 
 
 
From left: Matty Ebden, Greg Jones, Carsten Ball, Fitness Dude, Marinko Matosevic, Peter Luczak
 
Especially egregious is the 4th quarter, which crams legitimate Australian hopes Greg Jones, Matt Ebden and the newly-mohawked Sam Groth into the same pack.  Grrrrrr.
 
 
The infamous, the rarely-photographed Grothawk
 
The next thing I look for is: where are Dmitry Tursunov and Ryan Harrison placed, who are clearly the most dangerous floaters in this draw.  As you can see (do follow along with me, won’t you?), it is Harrison who probably got the more fortuitous placement (for him) – away from top seeds Adrian Mannarino and Ricardas Berankis, who – in my opinion – are the only players who can beat him more often than not.  Thus, I can see the 18 year-old American coming good in this section.  Tursunov, however, has a much rougher road.  After a reasonably solid but should-be manageable opponent in the scrappy WC James Duckworth, Tursunov faces the prospect of a rejuvenated Peter Luczak – who gave Marinko Matosevic all he could handle in the final of the recent AO Wildcard playoff – followed by the lights-out Lithuanean Berankis.  And, as we all know, Rycka has rocketed into the Top 100 and won a whole host of Newcomer and Breakthrough awards at the end of last season.  A tough ask for Tursunov to get through, but not entirely beyond the former Top 20 player by any means.
 
OK, so that’s the overall view. Now let’s take out the fine-toothed draw comb and do a more in-depth, line-by-line audit, breaking down the first round matchups. 

The event: Twenty-four of the most talented Aussies who didn’t get direct entry into the Australian Open main draw (aka everyone except for Lleyton Hewitt), fight it out in a 32-draw, single-elimination tournament in Melbourne Park. The winner receives a wildcard for entry into the main draw of the upcoming Australian Open.

The Forbidden:  aka Those Who Were Banned: aka Brydan Klein, Nick Lindahl and Dayne Kelly, all of whom were forbidden to participate due to unspecified behavioral transgressions.  Brydan’s woes (racial vilification, outburst in Kalgoorie) are well-documented, but the transgressions of the other two remain somewhat of a mystery.  Although no one’s gone on record as saying so, the fact the Nick Lindahl has chosen to play for Sweden has to be the primary reason for his sanction. As for Dayne Kelly, I have no idea. He’s a funny, boisterous guy, oftentimes not all there on court (similar to Marinko Matosevic in that respect), but I’ve yet to hear what specifically led to his wildcard playoff ban.

The Top Competitors: let’s have a closer look at the top seeds competing for the wildcard prize.

Top seed Peter Luczak: the 31-year-old, 2nd-ranked Aussie behind Lleyton Hewitt, “Looch” has had a fairly rough year, going 25-35 on the season and dropping from his career high of 64 about a year ago to his current #137 in the world rankings. He has not advanced past the quarterfinals of any tourney this year, and lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 Australian Open.

Second seed Marinko Matosevic: the combustible 25-year-old has had a pretty good year, going 37-24 for the year and achieving a career high ranking of #137 last month. He currently sits at #138 in the world rankings, just behind Peter Luczak.  Marinko qualified and made the 2nd round at Indian Wells (l. Tsonga), and won the Aptos and Calabasas Challengers. He lost in four sets to Marco Chiudinelli in this year’s Oz Open.

Third seed Carsten Ball: the big-serving 23-year-old lefty has had an up and down season, as is usual with the laid-back “American-Australian”. He won the Lexington Challenger in July, which led to a career high ranking of #108 in the world. Since then, however, he has gone 6-11 and dropped back down to #153.  He gave Fernando Verdasco a good fight for three good sets at this year’s Aussie Open before succumbing to the Spaniard in four.

Fourth Seed Matt Ebden: also 23 years old, Matt Ebden has had a fairly decent go of it this season, going 35-24 and breaking into the Top 200 for the first time, achieving a career high of #162 in September. He had a good run at Brisbane to start the year, qualifying and making the 2nd round with a win over Melzer before going down in straights to Gasquet. He made the finals of the Kyoto Challenger in March and won the Great Britain F16 Futures in October. He also made it through qualifying at the ’10 AO before losing three 4-6 sets to Gael Monfils in the first round.  Ebden incurred a training injury from an on-court tumble this weekend, but an MRI on his right hand showed bruising but no fracture and will hopefully have little effect on his game.

Fifth seed John Millman: aka The Mailman (or, as the bawdy Greg Jones calls him, “The Milkable Man”), the affable and determined 21 year old has delivered a super season that saw him break into the Top 200 for the first time as well.  40 wins and 22 losses on the season, Millman had a torrid month-long span from mid-September to mid-October, during which we went 14-1 in winning the Australia F6 Futures as well as the Sacramento Challenger before petering out in his last two matches in the States in October.  The Mailman hasn’t played in a couple of months, but has been training hard with the NA-Brisbane team and should hit the court raring to go, despite the lack of recent match play.

Sixth seed Bernard Tomic: WITHDRAWN. And wasn’t at the draw ceremony. And has played three matches since September. Things that make you go, “Hmmmmm.”

Seventh seed Greg Jones: funniest guy on tour, hands down, but the gregarious 21 year-old has had serious trouble kickstarting his year.  After a super start which saw finalist showings at the Burnie Challenger (l. Tomic) and the Aussie F2 Futures (l. Millman), he made the semis of the Leon Challenger in April and reached a career high of #179.  A series of injuries (including one from a New York City cab accident as he headed to the airport post-USO) have left him limping toward the finish line.  Jones started the year 16-9 but has gone 12-22 since.   One unexpected highlight, however, was his silver medalist showing at the Commonwealth Games, where he lost in the final to Somdev Devvarman.  The tall, big-serving righty had Juan Monaco on the ropes in New Haven, and I think has what it takes to be a Top 100 player.  He lost in the first round of qualies to Ivan Sergeyev at the year’s AO.

Eighth seed Sam Groth: almost the red-headed step-brother to Greg Jones in both game and mannerism (and grunting too, for that matter), the 23 year old has a HUGE serve and a lovely one-handed backhand (Greg has two, if you’re scoring at home) (or even if you’re alone).  Sam’s year is divided into to distinct parts: the first three quarters of the year was characterized by frustration and injury, and then the talented Mr. Groth found his game, going 30-5 for a scorching hot end to the season.  Let’s see if Sam can keep his form going through the playoff (which would mean more of his wife Jarka in the commentary booth all week, so everybody wins).

The entire draw breaks down as follows:

Peter Luczak [1]/Bye
Joel Lindner v. Luke Saville
Mark Verryth v. Jared Easton
James Lemke [9]/Bye

Matthew Ebden [4]/Bye
Maverick Banes v. Benjamin Mitchell
Dane Propoggia v. Andrew Whittington [A]
Samuel Groth [8]/Bye

John Millman [5]/Bye
James Duckworth v. Matthew Barton
Adam Feeney v. Colin Ebelthite
Carsten Ball [3]/Bye

Greg Jones [7]/Bye
Sean Berman v. Jason Kubler
Matt Reid v. Michael Look
Marinko Matosevic [2]/Bye

I’ll be taking a close look at the other matchups as each day progresses.

%d bloggers like this: