All year long we have been highlighting the Challenger tennis Blog’s “Ones to Watch”. These are players on the Challenger Tour that are ranked outside of the top 150, that the blog feels will make a mark in the game. We come now to Thomas Schoorel of the Netherlands.
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Denis (Kudla), the somewhat small-statured 2HBH’ed righty? On my list, the player who most resembles that remark is Mr. Thomas Schoorel of the Netherlands. Standing 2.02 meters tall (or 6 foot 6 inches in anti-metric English parlance), this left-hander has a one-handed backhand and a powerful all-court game. At 21 years old (and 8 months), he’s also the second-oldest player on my 2011 Players To Watch list, while Kudla is the second-younger player in the Top 500. Is your head spinning from the g-forces brought on by that shift in gears? I got more HP in my KB than Federer has in his Rafa airport shuttlemobile, yo. /gangsta
If you like gangly-but-powerful Dutch players, but Thiemo de Bakker just isn’t gangly or powerful enough for your liking, I think Thomas Schoorel might just be the player you’ve been looking for. As a bonus, he also comes equipped with a goofy service motion (hint: I’ve also been known to be a big fan of those (see also: Philipp Kohlschrieber, Daniel Brands, Viktor Troicki, Matteo Viola, et al)).
Though also a bit of late bloomer (dammit, Thomas, you’re supposed to be the opposite of Denis), he managed to drag a couple of Dutch nobodies into the Roland Garros and Wimbledon Junior Dubs quarterfinals and semifinals (respectively). And though he continues to grow into his body and his game, he’s made great strides this year (get it? He’s got long legs!), going 55/20 and rising from #447 to near 150 in the world (#152 on 13 Sep 2010). He reached the finals of two Challengers in 2010 (Scheveningen and Alphen) and just won the Reaal Tennis Masters in Dutchieland, beating Robin Haase in the semis and – guess who? – Thiemo de Bakker in the finals. Here’s a good view of a couple games from his Scheveningen quarterfinal vs. Alexandre Sidorenko:
YEAR END RANKING: (When they article was posted on the Blog): 304
CURRENT RANKING: 129