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
We have been highlighting players from the Challenger Tennis Blog’s year end listing of players to watch. Only players outside of the top 150 are considered for this list.
So how did they do
There were 14 players. In singles 10 have a better record now than they did at the end of last year. In doubles, 10 of them have a better record now. The list that was made up of players outside of the top 150 in the world now has 4 players, whose singes rankings are inside the top 150. The biggest jump in singles rankings so far is Denis Kudla – an American who jumped 215 spots. In doubles, it was Benoit Paire – a 462 place rise (Dan Cox went from being unranked to being 469 so that may be a better rise in the rankings). The biggest drop was Henri Kontinen – 115 spots. It should be noted that Kontinen was injured for most of the year and played very few tournaments. He is now recovering from surgery. It will be interesting to see how he does if he is able to recover from the surgery. He is a big serve and volleyer. If healthy, he is just the kind of player to test the prevailing theory that serve and volley tennis is dead. In doubles, Thomas Schoorel went from #345 to being unranked; John Millman went from 495 to 944; David Giffin went from 634 to being unranked. The highest current ranking in singles from this group is Benoit Paire at #111, the highest in doubles is Tsung-Hua Yang at #201. I will do a year end recap. Watch for the articles on the remaining players from this list.
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