With a new year comes new playtesters! If you haven’t noticed on some of our more recent racquet and shoe reviews, Sebastian Hafner has joined our playtesting team in January 2015. He played college tennis at Fresno State and then transferred to Rollins College in Florida. Sebastian is currently in our Web Editing department helping create content for Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Warehouse Europe. Sebastian grew up and played junior tennis in Germany.
In his fourth try, David Ferrer finally took home his first ATP Masters 1000 title this past weekend in Paris.
He becomes the first player outside of the Top 4 to win a Masters 1000 title since the end of 2010. Furthermore, he did it on a fast, indoor court, and not the red clay where Ferrer has traditionally thrived. This Spanish warrior just keeps getting better and better, having arguably the best year of his career at the ripe old age of 30. If David wins 4 matches this week at the year end championships in London, he would overtake Rafael Nadal and become the top ranked Spaniard.
However, overshadowing Ferrer’s impressive title run was the man he played in the finals, 21-year-old Jerzy Janowicz. His incredible run to the final had him win 7 matches, 2 in the qualifying and 5 in the main draw, and every win in the main draw was over a player ranked inside the Top 20 (Kohlschreiber, Cilic, Murray, Tipsarevic, Simon). His magical week in Paris vaulted him 39 spots to a career high ranking of #26.
The 6’8″ youngster from Poland was slaying giants with monstrous serves, big flat forehands and remarkably effective drop shots. The big fella’ has some major weapons in his arsenal and masterly creativity about how to use them. But most impressive was his fighting spirit, which has come from a tough road to the top of the game.
Jerzy started this year ranked outside of the Top 200, at #221 in the world. “This year I didn’t go to the Australian Open because I just didn’t have money to play [the] tournament,” Jerzy told members of the ATP Staff in an interview following one of his matches, demonstrating the reality of many touring pros outside of the top 100. It was evident that he’s been fighting for his life on the tour all year long, scrapping to win matches just so he could get to the next tournament. The pressure you feel when you know you have to win just to make enough money to travel and play the next week is terrifying, which explains his fearless play in the later rounds of the Paris Masters. His astonishing jump almost 200 spots in the world rankings must be attributed to his strong mental toughness and determination.
It’s great to see one of these success stories come to the forefront of the game, and I’m sure I can speak for everyone when we say that we hope to see more great things out of the young Pole in the months and years to come.