Tag Archive: Dan Cox


Hola, Challenger Tennis fans! Apologies for the lateness of this week’s List, but I’ve been having some health challenges lately that have rendered writing sub-optimal of late. I have so many articles planned (and a couple half-written already), so please bear with me and hopefully this blog will bear more fruit sometime soon.

In the meantime, let’s have a look at Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs this week, shall we?**

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Bradley Klahn USA 23 65 others lost points
Aleksandr Nedovyesov KAZ 27 81 New Delhi F
Dusan Lajovic SRB 23 89 ATP 500 Rio Q/R2
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 112 ATP 500 Rio Q/R2
Victor Estrella DOM 33 118 Morelos F
Blaz Rola SLO 23 151 New Delhi R2
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 153 Morelos W
Radu Albot MDA 24 160 New Delhi QF
Lucas Pouille FRA 20 184 New Delhi QF
Daniel Cox GBR 23 243 New Delhi Q
Adrian Sikora SVK 25 275 others lost points
Kyle Edmund GBR 19 276 Croatia F1 W
Emilio Gomez ECU 22 290 others lost points
Gabriel Alejandro Hidalgo ARG 23 314 Argentina F3 W
Dennis Novak AUT 20 332 Egypt F5 W
Nicolas Meister USA 24 339 Morelos QF
Oliver Golding GBR 20 354 Portugal F2 SF
Jason Jung USA 24 355 Morelos R2
Alexey Vatutin RUS 21 378 Astana Q
Markus Eriksson SWE 24 393 Spain F2 SF
Stanislav Vovk RUS 23 409 Portugal F2 W

The first player I’d like to talk about is Gerald Melzer, who is one of five 23-year-olds in the Top Seven of this week’s List (in addition to the amazing Victor Estrella, who is Achieving Career Highs a decade further into his career than all these whippersnappers, and Aleksandr Nedovyesov, who is 23 anyway per the Colette Lewis Collegiate Clause of 2014***).

He is also the younger brother of Jurgen Melzer, of course. And since Gerald is +42 in this week’s rankings while his older bro dropped two spots — in addition to the fact that Jojo has been sidelined with a shoulder injury and has yet to play in 2014 (he signed up to play in Acapulco but withdrew, and last played on the 9th of October, 2013) — I’m wondering when/if sometime in the future the Minimelz eclipses Melz the Maxi in the rankings.

"Yo, Bro, if you pass me in the rankings I'll shove this ball down your throat."

“Yo, Bro, if you pass me in the rankings I’ll shove this ball down your throat.” – /expert lip reading

So much so that I’m making it a contest. That’s right: either in the comments here or on Twitter, give me the exact date upon which you think Gerald will overtake Jurgen in the rankings (or “never” if you don’t think it’ll ever happen). The person who ends up having the best/nearest guess will get to choose my Twitter avatar that week.

What a prize! What a contest! So get to guessing.

Speaking of Austrian tennis… Dennis Novak, the forgotten (or heretofore unknown) Günter Bresnik-coached cog of the Gulbis-Thiem-Dubarenco machine, took the fourth Futures title of his career at the Sharm El Sheikh event and proclaimed himself “super happy”. He’s is now 3 ranking spots ahead of Dubarenco, so remember him!

The Number Two Novak Accepts His Bounty

Tennis’s Number Two Novak Accepts His Bounty

Novak also won Egypt F6 (SPOILER ALERT), so will be on next week’s List as well.  Oh, and if you’re confused by all of tennis’s Dennises, I wrote this oh-so-handy field guide so that you will no longer be baffled by the difference between Dennis Novak, Dennis Novikov and Dennis Nevolo. You’re welcome.

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It’s a big week, and a big list, so let’s cut right to it:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High
Federico Delbonis ARG 23 56
Edouard Roger-Vasselin FRA 29 64
Jack Sock USA 21 78
Julian Reister GER 27 88
Tim Smyczek USA 25 91
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 146
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 148
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 152
Marco Cecchinato ITA 21 161
Radu Albot MDA 23 174
Nick Kyrgios AUS 18 177
Norbert Gombos SVK 23 195
Blaz Rola SLO 23 201
Marton Fucsovics HUN 21 230
Enrique Lopez-Perez ESP 22 236
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 250
Daniel Cox GBR 23 254
Valery Rudnev RUS 25 257
Hiroki Kondo JPN 30 276
Chase Buchanan USA 22 282
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 19 286
Thiago Monteiro BRA 19 287
Mikhail Biryukov RUS 21 292
Bjorn Fratangelo USA 20 293

Normally the list only (arbitrarily) charts career high rankings from #60 to #300ish, but I’m including Federico Delbonis for sentimental reasons. And because he’s the highest-ranked player who follows me on Twitter.  So IF YOU WANT TO GET ON THIS LIST, TOP 60, YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW ME!

Because You Gotta Have Fede

Because You Gotta Have Fede

I also listed Delbo because he’s Argentinian, just like 33% of rest of this List’s Top 10.  As with every week, the Argies keep on comin’; since I started the List again about a month ago, there’s not been a single week that it hasn’t included at least one Argentine, and usually it’s many more than that.  In fact, I doubt there will be a week in the next few months in which the Argies won’t barge into the List.

Since I didn’t highlight him last week, I want to highlight Tim Smyczek this week, as breaking into the Top 100 was a big goal of his.  Last week he entered the Top 100 right at 100, but this past week’s Sacramento Challenger finalist showing (l. to Donald Young) pushes him well into the Top 100 at #91.

Speaking of The Donald (as I was above in parentheses), I paid everyone a disservice on Twitter when I broadcast my calculation that he’d be returning to the Top 100 at ~#98 as a result of his Sacramento title.  I still don’t know exactly how I missed it (it seems 10 points came off his ranking, but I didn’t see that as of last night), but Donald tragically languishes around #103 this week — not 98.

While it’s still far from Young’s career high, he’s been on quite the buttery roll lately; he’s now won ten consecutive matches for the first time in his pro career.

A Young Champion

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2011 Challenger Tennis Players To Watch: Part III

*sings* On the third day of Christmas, Challenger Tennis brought to you: *unsings*

Two players playing, of course! It’s what we’re bringing to you on all twelve days of Christmas, in case you haven’t caught on yet (you’re a bit slow, aren’t you?).  Today is the third installment of our two-a-day, daily profiles of Players To Watch in the upcoming year. Let’s dive right in to today’s feast, shall we? I’m all for avoiding the usual pre(r)amble…

Well, I must say, I wasn’t planning on profiling this particular gentleman until later in the series, but the recent announcement that he’s received a wildcard into the ATP 250 Brisbane International pushed John Millman right onto today’s “2011 Players To Watch” docket. Might as well learn about the player you’ll be seeing (I hope) soon, no?

Truth be told – scandalous confession time! – Millman (aka “The Mailman” or “The Milkman”), was unofficially on my “Players to Watch” list all last year as well. But I’ll be doing the environmentally responsible thing here by recycling him this year. His results and his position also justify such an act.  John first appeared on my radar at the ’09 WC Playoffs, when he made the semis and had a series of very entertaining guest commentator stints in the booth with Rob O’Gorman and friends. With his bubbly demeanor (and his love of crème brulee), my friends and I dubbed him “The Giggling Mailman” and fully embraced this player with the engaging personality.

But “The Giggling Mailman” is someone who achieved some serious results this year. The 21-year-old (and 5 months) Mr. Millman turned in a super 40/22 W/L season which saw him break into the Top 200 for the first time, to a career high of #179 in October. Most impressive of all was his torrid month-long span from mid-September to mid-October, during which he went 14-1, winning the Australia F6 Futures as well as the Sacramento Challenger. In his run to the Sacramento title, John beat Julian Reister in R2 and straight-setted Robert Kendrick in the final, providing evidence that top-hundred talent may lurk just beneath his affable exterior.  He lost his last two matches in the States in October, however, undercut by a revenge-minded Reister (the worst kind of Reister) in Tiburon and the deadly combination of Lester Cook and shin splints in Calabasas.

I was lucky enough to see Millman play against another of my 2010 Players to Watch, Peter Polansky, in the final qualifying round of the US Open this year (he had beaten Marinko Matosevic 2-6 6-1 7-5 in the previous round, which I was not lucky enough to watch in person or otherwise). Though John eventually petered out as the sun set on the National Tennis Center (losing 3-6 6-4 0-6), he picked himself up and went on a nine-match winning streak in Australia soon afterward. And during the Polansky match, John won the hearts of the many fans who had gathered at Court 12 to watch (as it was the last match of the entire qualifying session) with his determined fightback in the 2nd set – and high fiving a ballkid at the net after running down a drop shot was a nice touch, too.

Millman currently occupies the #204 spot in the ATP World Rankings list, which is 102 spots higher than the one he occupied at the start of this year. Though he had a less-than-impressive result at the AO Wildcard Playoff, losing to James Duckworth 4-6 6-7(1) in R2, that hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for the extremely likeable Queenslander’s 2011 prospects. As Tennis Hall of Famer and Tennis Australia national selector Todd Woodbridge said yesterday, John “has a phenomenal attitude and commitment to the game of tennis.” I look forward to seeing what The Mailman can deliver in 2011.

For now, though, you should look at the following two videos. This first one is the only I could find of John actually hitting a tennis ball. Sorry about that. I scoured the internet, too – visited the very scariest corners of YouTube and lived to tell the tale. But next time I see him I should take some video, as I had no idea footage was such a scarce commodity. Jeesh.

And even though there is not a single tennis ball hit in the next vid, I urge you to make it through to his superb off-the-cuff analysis of the entire AO Wildcard draw as it unfolded (including some great Sam Groth and Bernard Tomic burns):

Conclusion: it’s just impossible not to support this guy. Go ahead and try.

Oh, and speaking of the scary corners of YouTube – look what I found! That’s right: bonus Andrey Kuznetsov footage (which is tagged “Andrey Kuznetcov”, thus banishing it to the dirty backstreets of YouTubetown).  The racquet toss at :52 is the funniest I have ever seen:

Good stuff!

The next selection from my Players To Watch menu may surprise you, as he’s English. And no one group of tennis players has taken more guff or come under more negative scrutiny than the English boys have. But even though I’m often roundly mocked for doing so, I have not given up in the Search for Great Britain’s Next Top Tim. To surprise (and/or tease) (and/or frustrate) you even more, my pick isn’t even British #2 James Ward. He would be on my list, but J.Ward doesn’t fit my strict “under 23 years old” criteria; poor James missed it by 10 months or so – do give him my condolences if you see him, and tell him that I still believe in him. Thanks.

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