Every year, a new star or two is born at the Open by virtue of their off-the-court demonstrations as much as the work on it. Last year, it was all Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic. This year, we’re developing a real soft spot for Querrey.
What follows are some excperts from his post-match press briefing after his win on Saturday over Ivo Karlovic. (A budding tennis star, but just like us!)
"Yeah, [the Nadal match last year] was one of my first matches. Like I turned pro in June and I played him in, like, early August. So it was one of my first matches on the ATP Tour. Won the first set, I remember, so that was cool."
"Like the main thing from that [Nadal] match I remember, I was playing at 2:00 and I knew ESPN went on the air at 3:00. I wanted to make it to 3:00 to get some ESPN time, which I did."
“Mentally? When I first started out, you know, I would sometimes let my mind wander for a game or two, and against these guys, if you do that, you know, that could be a set, especially, against Ivo with a serve like that. So I’m much more consistent and level-headed.
“[My pre-match routine] is nothing special. This morning I just woke up, had some breakfast, had some eggs, and then came over here. I stretched, warmed up, put a grip on a racquet. Been using the same racquet all week. Strings haven’t broke. I’m getting it restrung every match, but it’s lasted me like three hours every day. That’s kind of nice.”
"I played on the high school team freshman, sophomore, and junior year. Went to high school and did my thing and practiced at the club up the street from my house. Took lessons and went to the Tuesday, Thursday, clinics. Seemed to work for me. A lot of people, they might need to go to a tennis academy and play for six hours a day. Everyone’s different."
Reporter: Which club was that?
SAM QUERREY: North Ranch Country Club where I’ve played at for the last eight years.
Reporter: Sounds normal.
SAM QUERREY: Yeah. Some weirdos there (laughter.)
"Against a guy like [Karlovic], there’s a sense of urgency to every point, especially when he’s serving. You’re not going to get many chances, so if you do miss a second serve or miss an easy forehand you can really just kind of feel the pressure building up, because you know you might not get another chance. So you’ve really got to focus in on those chances when you have a second serve, or the points where you have a second serve or the points where you just get the ball in play and you’re actually in a point. So those are just so key."