Pro Debut Interview with @Mitch_Krueger @TennisHalloFame

For a first timer in the main draw of a tour event, Mitch Krueger had a great 1st set of tennis as an ATP professional yesterday. He had two set points in the tiebreak against Tatsuma Ito before falling just short. As Krueger himself said, Ito raised his level of play in the second set. Afterward, we talked about his confidence in the decision to delay college and the special excitement surrounding his first pro match being played at the Tennis Hall of Fame, a place where he hopes to be enshrined someday.

—S. Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

Baker, R. Harrison, Williams, Ram Headline @USOpen Men’s Wild Card Field

BRIAN BAKER, RYAN HARRISON HEADLINE MEN’S US OPEN WILD CARD RECIPIENTS

Photo Retweeted by Ben Rothenburg of Harrison Signing Busted Racquet for the Fan who Snagged It. (Now Famous)

Photo Retweeted by Ben Rothenburg of Harrison Signing Busted Racquet for the Fan who Snagged It. (Now Famous)

Teenagers Christian Harrison, Mitchell Krueger, Dennis Novikov, Noah Rubin, Jared Donaldson Get Qualifying WCs

FLUSHING, N.Y., August 13, 2013 – The USTA announced today that Brian Baker, playing in his first Grand Slam since the 2013 Australian Open, 2012 Olympian and former world No. 43 Ryan Harrison, 2010 NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn and 2011 NCAA singles finalist Rhyne Williams have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2013 US Open. Other American men receiving US Open main draw wild cards are Rajeev Ram and 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s champion Collin Altamirano. Australia’s James Duckworth and France’s Guillaume Rufin will also receive wild cards.

The 2013 US Open will be played August 26-September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions this year will earn $2.6 million, the largest payout in tennis history, with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money – for a total $3.6 million potential payout – based on their performances in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.

Brian Baker, Newport 2013

Brian Baker, Newport 2013

Baker, 28, of Nashville, Tenn., is attempting to make yet another remarkable comeback from injury. After being sidelined since the 2013 Australian Open in January, when he suffered a significant knee injury during his second-round match against Sam Querrey, Baker returned to competitive play last week at the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., and has advanced to the second round of this week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Baker, now ranked No. 185, ascended to No. 52 in the world in 2012 after injuries kept him sidelined for nearly six years.

Harrison, 21, of Shreveport, La., rose to No. 43 in the world in 2012, the year in which he also represented the U.S. in the London Olympics and in Davis Cup. On the Emirates Airline US Open Series this summer, Harrison, now ranked No. 102, reached the semifinals at the BB&T Atlanta Open and defeated former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

Klahn

Klahn

Klahn, 22, of Poway, Calif., earned a US Open wild card as the top American points earner at select USTA Pro Circuit events this summer. The 2010 NCAA singles champion while a sophomore at Stanford, Klahn won the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., last week, catapulting to a career high rank of No. 123. Last year, Klahn received a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, qualified and reached the second round, becoming the first men’s qualifying wild card to win a US Open main draw match.

Wiliams

Wiliams

Williams, 22, of Knoxville, Tenn., reached his first ATP semifinal in Houston this year and played in the main draws of the French Open and the Australian Open, winning a USTA playoff to gain entry into the latter. Now at a career-high rank of No. 114, He was a 2011 NCAA singles finalist while at Tennessee, and his grandfather, Michael DePalmer, Sr., was the Volunteers’ longtime coach who helped found the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

Rajeev Ram. Newport 2013

Rajeev Ram. Newport 2013

Ram, 29, of Carmel, Ind., is the highest ranked American who did not receive direct entry into the US Open at the entry deadline. Ram owns one singles title (Newport, 2009) and seven doubles titles on the ATP World Tour and has been ranked as high as No. 78 in singles. Ram qualified and reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open.

Altamirano, 17, of Yuba City, Calif., earned his wild card by winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship singles title, doing so in historic fashion. Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the tournament in the 71 years it has called Kalamazoo, Mich., home.

Duckworth, 21, of Sydney, Australia, received a wild card through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia, which will grant an American a wild card into the 2014 Australian Open, to be determined by a USTA playoff (Rhyne Williams was the 2013 winner). Currently at a career-high rank of No. 150, Duckworth reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open and qualified for both the French Open and Wimbledon this year.

Rufin, 23, of Charnay, France, received his wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation, which awarded a wild card into the 2013 French Open to an American player designated by the USTA (Alex Kuznetsov won the USTA Pro-Circuit event-based system this year). Rufin, currently ranked No. 92, has played in all three Grand Slam main draws this year, reaching the second round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight men who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 20-23 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2013 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, taking place August 16-19 in New Haven, Conn.

Players receiving 2013 US Open qualifying wild cards are: 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship runner-up Jared Donaldson (16, Cumberland, R.I.); 2011 French Open boys’ champion Bjorn Fratangelo (20, Pittsburgh, Pa.), who has won three Futures titles in 2013; Christian Harrison (19, Shreveport, La.), who reached the 2012 US Open doubles quarterfinals with his older brother, Ryan Harrison; Jarmere Jenkins (22, College Park, Ga.), who came one win short of winning the NCAA triple crown this summer, leading Virginia to its first NCAA team title, winning the NCAA doubles title and reaching the NCAA singles final; former Wimbledon and French Open boys’ semifinalist Mitchell Krueger (19, Fort Worth, Texas), who won his first pro singles title in June; UCLA sophomore Dennis Novikov (19, San Jose, Calif.), the 2012 USTA Boys’ 18s national champion who defeated 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in the first round of last year’s US Open; local teenager Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), who has been as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings; and Tennys Sandgren (22, Gallatin, Tenn.), a former standout at Tennessee who has won five USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles titles in the last two years.

The 2013 US Open will be held Monday, August 26, through Monday, September 9. Tickets for the 2013 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at USOpen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office.

Krueger and Kiick Complete Winning Runs at #USTA International Spring Championships

Krueger and Kiick Complete Winning Runs at
USTA International Spring Championships
 
CARSON, Calif., (Sunday, April 8, 2012) – Mitchell Krueger and Allie Kiick recorded resounding Easter Sunday straight-set victories on the final day of the USTA International Spring Championships at the Home Depot Center.
 
The top-seeded 18-year-old Krueger of Aledo, Texas, needed just under two hours to beat 14-year-old Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla., 6-3, 6-4, in a very close, competitive and entertaining match in the boys’ 18s final.
 
The girls’ 18s final finished first between two 16-year-olds from Florida as No. 7-seeded Allie Kiick of Plantation, Fla., got off to a strong start and then finished off No. 3 Chalena Scholl of Pompano Beach, Fla., 6-0, 6-2.
 
Kozlov refused to go down without a fight, playing big on the crucial points and staving off four match points before Krueger served himself out of some trouble and converted for the victory in the important ITF Grade 1 junior event which brought together some of the world’s top-ranked junior players.
 
“He played some good points on those match points,” Krueger said. “The way he plays is really unique and very different. He plays very slowly and it’s easy to get into the trap of playing exactly the way he wants you to.”
 
Krueger continued: “I wasn’t feeling that I was hitting it all that cleanly today. He definitely makes you think because he plays such a different game. I don’t even know how to describe it; just lots of slices, lots of drop shots, lots of lobs. A lot of older guys who play him are going to come out tight because they’re not going to be able to hit out from the start. He doesn’t miss much. It was an interesting match.”
 
Kozlov felt like he was the victim of some tough line calls at crucial stages of the match, but didn’t make any excuses afterward. “It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I played well and didn’t expect to get this far. I had my chances. I had a chance to go up 3-0 and 5-2 on break points but couldn’t convert. I had nothing to lose. Win or lose it didn’t matter to me.”
 
Krueger was impressed with Kozlov, who he has seen him play but had never met in a match.
 
“He’s got incredible potential,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player so good at his age; except maybe Donald Young. I think he has a chance to do some of the things Donald has done. If he keeps going I think he has a great future.”
 
Kiick and Scholl renewed their rivalry from their days playing Florida section events after both started playing tennis. “We’ve played so many times,” Scholl said. “I can’t even remember how many times we’ve played each other.”
 
The tournament victory was Kiick’s first at a Grade 1-level ITF event. She beat Scholl in the final of the Amelia Island Pro Circuit tournament last October but lost to Scholl at the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Championships in Tulsa.
 
“It’s really exciting since this is one of my last junior tournaments,” said Kiick, who has been training at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., and is coached by Kathy Rinaldi, who was on site Sunday, and Troy Hahn. “I’ll play Easter Bowl and then the French Open and Wimbledon and Nationals in San Diego.”
 
“I’m going to be playing more pro events,” she added. “My goal is to be top 200 (WTA) by the end of the year.”
 
For final draws log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.
 
SUNDAY’S RESULTS
Boys’ 18 Singles (Final)
Mitchell Krueger (1) Aledo, TX  def.  Stefan Kozlov Pembroke Pines, FL  6-3, 6-4
 
Girls’ 18 Singles (Semifinals)
Allie Kiick (7) Plantation, FL  def. Chalena Scholl (3) Pompano Beach, FL  6-0, 6-2

–Steve Pratt