Tag Archive: Knoxville Challenger


Sunday Morning Reading List: Tuesday Afternoon Edition

It’s time for everyone’s favorite long-standing* weekly Challenger Tennis tradition: the Sunday Morning Reading List — the very best challenger-related articles of the week.  As is usually the case, Sunday’s reading list is appearing on a day other than Sunday because, let’s face it, the NFL is on Sundays and I can’t be expected to write while football is being played** I can’t be locked into a temporal limitation when good writing does not cohere to such Sunday-shaped, calendaric*** specifications.

For instance, this amazingly entertaining piece by Catherine Prendergast was just published today. (Confession: oftentimes I’m just waiting for a truly great piece of writing to inspire me to get off my lazy ass, walk to the computer, get back onto my lazy ass, and compile that week’s Reading List. AND THIS IS THAT.)

Titled  “The Last American Challenger”, this deliciously detailed read recounts the author’s week at what is the end of a long and grinding road for a lot of players: the Champaign Challenger.

What we have going on in Champaign, then, is something like Custer’s Last Stand—except in this version there are no Indians so the Americans are left shooting at each other.

I laughed approximately 18 times while reading this article. Prendergast does not pull any punches; from Jack Sock’s “brat”-like behavior, to Tennys Sandgren’s Lynyrd Skynyrd “porn stache”, it’s all here in glorious word pictures and not-quite-as-glorious picture pictures (although you seriously haven’t lived until you’ve seen the pointillist rendering of coach and tourney protagonist Billy Heiser).

"S-A-N-D-G, R-E-N. - NIGHT!"

“S-A-N-D-G, R-E-N. – NIGHT!”

Citing David Foster Wallace’s legendary tennis writing, this article dips into a vein of DFW-esque inspiration, which is the highest (and most deserved) compliment I can give it.

Speaking of Sandgren, this write-up from the UT Daily Beacon provides a nice summation of the Knoxville Challenger, from a University of Tennessee POV.  In the feature, Knoxville champ Tim Smyczek says, “Tennys is playing really well, and I think he is going to have a good Champaign.”  And boy, did Sandgren ever prove him right.

Had enough of Tennys? Of course you haven’t! Which is why you should also read Collette Lewis’s account of the success he and other college players had on the challenger tour last week, as well as the splashes juniors like Gianluigi Quinzi, Borna Coric, Christian Garin, Andrey Rublev and Ernesto Escobedo made at the Challenger and Futures levels.

On the subject of Futures, Irish #4 Daniel Glancy has been blogging about his experiences as he tours the late-season European Futures circuit. In the latest edition, he writes of the fiscal and physical challenges he faced at the Cyprus F1 event.  As ever, the best glimpses you can get into life on tour are from the players themselves.

Danny Glanny! (TM James Cluskey)

Danny Glanny! (TM James Cluskey)

Lastly, if you’re already over this season (though there’s still three Challengers and many Futures events happening this week, I’m obligated to point out parenthetically!) and can’t wait for 2014 and the possibilities presented for your Challfaves, look no further than Foot Soldiers of Tennis’s regularly updated series detailing the race to get into the Australian Open main draw.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to check back next (day I decide is) Sunday!

*Three weeks and running!

**Um, forget you just read that.

***Yes I made that word up.

Well, (no) thanks to the lollygaggers and dilly-dalliers at the O2 Arena’s World Tour Finals — who lollygaggingly and dilly-dallyingly decided to contest their Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic final on a Monday and not a Sunday — today’s W.A.T.C.H. List comes to you one day late, since the new rankings were delayed. WTF indeed.

So let’s not waste any more time, and cut straight to today’s List to see Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs this week*:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Michal Przysiezny POL 29 59 others lost points
Tim Smyczek USA 25 73 Knoxville W
Julian Reister GER 27 83 Yeongwol R2
Bradley Klahn USA 23 101 Yeongwol W
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 127 Bogota QF
Peter Polansky CAN 25 141 Knoxville F
Victor Estrella DOM 33 147 Bogota W
Guilherme Clezar BRA 20 159 Bogota SF
Damir Dzumhur BIH 21 190 Bratislava QF
Taro Daniel JPN 20 214 Yeongwol F
James McGee IRL 26 220 Yeongwol SF
Germain Gigounon BEL 24 240 Yeongwol QF
Axel Michon FRA 22 241 Egypt F32 F
Valery Rudnev RUS 25 244 Yeongwol R16
Aslan Karatsev RUS 20 286 Yeongwol QR2
Tak Khunn Wang FRA 22 289 others lost points
Adrian Sikora SVK 25 297 Bratislava R2
Janez Semrajc SLO 24 306 Croatia F14 SF
Ante Pavic CRO 24 314 Bratislava R2
Juan Lizariturry ESP 22 316 others lost points

“Oh my!” I can hear you saying, “Some of these names are in yellow. What on Earth could possibly be the reason?”

Well I’ll tell you what: it’s because this is Peter Polansky, Taro Daniel and Axel Michon’s first time on the List**.

Polansky, as anyone who’s been paying attention already knows, has been tearing up the Chally circuit of late, making the finals of his last three tournaments and winning at Tiburon. The 25-year-old Canadian is thus 13-2 in his last 15 matches.

PePo Stares Deep Into Your Soul at the Knoxville Trophy Ceremony***

PePo Stares Deep Into Your Soul at the Knoxville Trophy Ceremony***

Taro Daniel, for his part, had an excellent run at the Yeongwol Challenger, where he upset 6 seed James Ward in the first round, and rode that win all the way to the finals, where he lost to Bradley Klahn. The 20-year-old Japanese righty is now the sixth-ranked player under the age of 21.

Axel Michon, meanwhile, is a  22-year-old Frenchman who’s had a very decent 59/29 campaign this year — although most of his success has been on Futures level and hasn’t quite translated to Challenger-level success; in fourteen tries this year, Michon’s only made it past the 2nd round one time.

Lastly, I want to point out just how many of the career highs were posted at the middle-of-nowhere Yeongwol Challenger. *points*

Aslan Karatsev only had to win one qualifying match to achieve his new personal best, fer chrissakes. It seems like all you had to do was show up there and viola — a new career high! Heck, I think even the Yeongwol ball kids have at least one ATP point.

Yeong Jeezy - photo by Jason Jung

Yeong Jeezy – photo by Jason Jung

*Ranked between 60(ish) and 300(ish), as always.

**In the last 10 weeks, at least.

***And you kind of like it.

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