While I was immersed in all things Kalamazoo last week, Peter Bodo was talking with John Isner as part of a conference call the ATP set up with several top tennis reporters. The conversation got Peter thinking about college tennis and how it needs to be recognized as viable prelude to a pro career. I especially liked this passage:
....it is also possible that those extra years spent in college subtly mute a player's long-term expectations (in relative terms, of course). If you go to college these days, just making it as a tour journeyman is a feat, and there is something of the self-fulfilling prophecy about that. College players need to think they can attend college and come out and win Wimbledon, not just earn enough on the tour to buy a Hummer (my emphasis added). But you still get around the fact that neither Blake nor Isner was ready to play the pro tour, except to impersonate a punching bag, at 17 or 18, period. There is, after all, a natural limit to everyone's ability and potential. They key is fulfilling what potential there is - and keeping the faith long enough for that to happen.
By the way, I heard last week that Isner has been invited to join the US Davis Cup team as a hitting partner for next month's tie with Sweden.
Monday, August 13, 2007