#8 Discovering a Future Champion


My dad likes to go to the outer courts to watch the lesser known players and more competitive matches and often he discovers some future superstars. At Wimbledon 2014 he saw Nick Kyrgios save 9 match points against Gasquet, days before Kyrgios went on to beat Nadal!

He also remembers seeing Jelena Jankovic beat Nicole Vaidisova just 1 year before Jankovic made the US Open final.

This is his memory of a specific player from a match in 2005:

It is early afternoon, the sun at its peak and the heat oppressive. The side courts with name players are packed; no chance of getting any seat, much less one with some shade. I head to the far courts where one never knows what you will find, usually 2 unknowns battling it out. Luckily I find a seat for a men’s single match between 2 players I had not heard of. One player was extremely fit and quick around the court. The other was a bit stockier and slower but was an amazing shot maker. Each was a great retriever resulting in long, exciting rallies and after 2 sets the match was tied. I decided to see what else was going on and wandered around the grounds, side courts, food court, the Grandstand, catching snippets of various matches, trying to survive the crowds. By this time it was much later, I had been in the hot sun watching various matches all day and was getting ready to leave. Heading toward the exit, I took a quick glance at the main scoreboard over the fountain area and noticed that match on court 15 was still going on, now tied at 2 sets each! Hot and tired as I was, I raced back to catch the end. By now the viewing area was packed, spectators squeezed in, shoulder-to-shoulder.  

The final set was intense, exciting. These 2 competitors gave their all and the crowd was into it, encouraging each competitor with loud cheers. To my surprise, the stocky/less fit player survived the marathon. Truly, one of the more competitive and exciting matches I have seen in person.

Who would have ever thought that 11 years later that same player would be raising the US Open Men’s Singles Champion trophy? Congrats, Stan Wawrinka!