Tag Archive: Tim Smyczek


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.

A very long List today. Since a lot of players’ seasons have already been shuttered, those who did play last week stood to gain a lot vs. those dormant others. Thus, there’s a whole lotta career highs to get to today. So let’s get to them!

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Alejandro Gonzalez COL 24 91 CTF F
Oleksandr Nedovyesov UKR 26 93 CTF SF
Bradley Klahn USA 23 97 Yokohama SF
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 121 others lost points
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 123 Lima F
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 124 Lima QF
Peter Polansky CAN 25 140 others lost points
Victor Estrella DOM 33 143 Guayaquil QF
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 151 Yokohama SF
Guilherme Clezar BRA 20 156 CTF RR
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 178 others lost points
Sam Groth AUS 26 183 Champaign F
Tennys Sandgren USA 22 187 Champaign W
Damir Dzumhur BIH 21 189 others lost points
Pedro Sousa POR 25 199 Guayaquil F
Mohamed Safwat EGY 23 206 Egypt F32 W
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 232 others lost points
Axel Michon FRA 22 239 Egypt F32 F
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 19 254 Yokohama R2
Andrea Collarini ARG 21 257 Lima R2
Egor Gerasimov BLR 21 267 Helsinki QF
Hiroki Kondo JPN 31 275 Yokohama FQR
Adrian Sikora SVK 25 295 others lost points
Ante Pavic CRO 24 297 Helsinki R2
Janez Semrajc SLO 24 300 Croatia F14 F

So what do we make of this uber-long List?

Well, first of all, a hardy “Welcome to the Top 100!” is in order for Colombia’s Alejandro Gonzalez and American Bradley Klahn. Gonzalez, who lost to Filippo Volandri in the Challenger Tour Finals, is the sixth Colombian to ever break into the One Hundred Club.

AGon The Conqueror

AGon The Conqueror

Klahn, the three-time All-American out of Stanford, finishes his first full year on tour in superb form, going Finalist, Champion and Semifinalist in Traralgon, Yeongwol and Yokohama respectively — a run that saw him rise 26 rungs on the ATP Rankings ladder.

Behind John Isner and Sam Querrey, the Americans are now tightly bunched, with Tim Smyczek at #89, Michael Russell #92, Donald Young #96 and Klahn at #97.  Furthermore, Klahn has now assured his entry into the main draw at next year’s Australian Open, where the cutoff is ATP #105. Our pals at Footsoldiers of Tennis have the latest breakdown of who’s chasing ATPoints at the three Challenger events this week, in order to join Klahn in the main draw.

The Wrath of Klahn - photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

The Wrath of Klahn – photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

Next, we see that tennis’s Facundos are still doing just fine, although they’ll need to qualify at next year’s first Slam.  But at least they’ll be seeded. Click here if you’re still unsure about who the Fac they are.

Clearly congrats are in order for Victor Estrella, who’s the Tommy Haas of the Challenger Tour, finding success well into his thirties. A new career high at age 33 is nothing to sneeze at*.

Sweet Victory

Sweet Victor-y

Lastly, congrats to Sam Groth and Tennys Sandgren, whose bubbly Champaign Challenger success (finalist and champion, respectively) resulted in dual breakthroughs into the vaunted Top One Hundred Eighty Seven.

I Will Not Make A Tennys Pun.

I Will Not Make A Tennys Pun

Groth’s breakthrough has been a long time coming, as he’s dabbled in the 200’s for significant periods of time every year since 2008. As the now seventh-ranked Aussie, he inserts himself prominently into the wildcard discussion for the Oz Open.

Champaign Wishes And Caviar Dreams

Champaign Wishes And Caviar Dreams

Welp, there are many more stories I can tell of those in the lower reaches of this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List, but this article is already long enough, don’t you think?  If I’m inspired, I’ll write a sequel.  So check back often!***

*Unless you have a cold, in which case: sneeze away!**

**Your monitor also doubles as a sneeze guard.

***Chances are <1% that I’ll write a sequel, so use your best judgment here.

Happy Monday, everyone! It’s that time of the week again — time to see who’s achieved their career highs for the week of 21-Oct, 2013 (of those players on the Challenger Tour).  Here’s this week’s List:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High
Tim Smyczek USA 25 84
Julian Reister GER 27 87
Diego Schwartzman ARG 21 105
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 139
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 141
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 148
Radu Albot MDA 23 171
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 182
Blaz Rola SLO 23 184
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 186
Mirza Basic BIH 22 202
John-Patrick Smith AUS 24 207
Miloslav Mecir SVK 25 215
Enrique Lopez-Perez ESP 22 223
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 241
Daniel Cox GBR 23 248
Theodoros Angelinos GRE 29 269
Chase Buchanan USA 22 274
Egor Gerasimov BLR 20 302
Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan IND 25 309

First of all, I swear I’m not stacking the W.A.T.C.H. List deck with Argies.  They really do keep charting career highs at an alarming rate, and I reckon it’ll continue until everyone in the Top 10 is named Facundo.

Next of all, another hats off is in order for Mr. Tim Smyczek. Four weeks ago, he was thrilled to break into the Top 100, but he hasn’t stopped there: he’s been on the List every single week since then, and is now quite comfortably entrenched in the Top 100 at #84.

As ever, the players with U.S. collegiate tennis experience continue to thrive, with Blaz Rola (THE Ohio State University), J.P. Smith (University of Tennessee), Theodoros Angelinos (University of Virginia), Chase Buchanan (THE Ohio State University) and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (University of Washington) all logging personal bests this week. Nedunchezhiyan was once a Top 10 Junior (#9 in 2006).

Jee Whiz

Jee Whiz

Lastly, I continue to be amused that Dominic Thiem and Gerald Melzer keep racing up the list in tandem, given their acrimonious relationship. It makes me envision a future in which they’re the Top Two Austrians and are forced to be awkward Davis Cup thiemates.  (In case you missed it: the brothers Melzer have been pissed off because the D(en)ominator allegedly demanded fiscal recompense and sat out Austria’s most recent Davis Cup tie because he wasn’t offered enough).

Tennis needs more rivalries, and so far this has been a good one.

Hmmm.  It seems all I ever post here anymore is W.A.T.C.H. Lists.  Perhaps I should just change this blog’s name to WATCH List Tennis instead of Challenger Tennis.  Well fear not, loyal Challenger tennis fans, I’ve a post in the works that’s sure to be the best damn thing you’ll ever read*.  But enough about me and my lazy malaise; this post is about celebrating other people dammit! (Seriously, though, I’m great.)

Let’s therefore take a look at Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs for the week:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High
Federico Delbonis ARG 23 55
Michal Przysiezny POL 29 69
Tim Smyczek USA 25 87
Diego Schwartzman ARG 21 107
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 143
James Duckworth AUS 21 147
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 150
Radu Albot MDA 23 172
Renzo Olivo ARG 21 179
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 187
Blaz Rola SLO 23 190
John-Patrick Smith AUS 24 208
Enrique Lopez-Perez ESP 22 224
Mohamed Safwat EGY 23 237
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 249
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 19 258
Thiago Monteiro BRA 19 266
Yong-Kyu Lim KOR 22 269
Chase Buchanan USA 22 275
Theodoros Angelinos GRE 29 283
Bjorn Fratangelo USA 20 292

So people, do you see what I see? (NOTE: I’ve highlighted it in blue, so if you don’t see it then you should get your eyes checked.)  Yup, that’s right: the Argentinians have continued their relentless assault on the weekly W.A.T.C.H. list charts.  And this week there are more then ever! Five (5) (FIVE!) of the Top 10 on this week’s list are from La Legion Argentina.

Seriously, what is in the water in Argentina?  Whatever it is, it makes them multiply like career-high Mogwai.

One of these beings is not like the others.

One of these beings is not like the others.

And can this Argentinian water be bottled and exported?  Because it’s almost as if the players from other nations are just WATCH list gate-crashers at this point. (And to think, San Juan Challenger winner Guido Andreozzi was only four ranking rungs off his high too!) Nothing surprises me about their success these days.  At this rate, I wouldn’t even be surprised if they all were from Tandil, a la Juan Martin del Potro, Juan Monaco, Maximo Gonzalez and others.  (Del Potro, by the way, thinks it’s the meat and not the water.)

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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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