June 20,2010-As Rafael Nadal wins his fifth French Open and regains the number one ranking, the second best player in tennis is not named Roger, Novak or Andy. Surprisingly, Sam Querrey, the second ranked American is having the next best year.
While Nadal was claiming his fourth title, most on the ATP tour, Querrey won his third at the Queens Aegon grass tournament in London to place second in championships.
Although there is little comparison between a Grand Slam French Open worth 1000 points and a 250 point tournament like Queens, there is something to be said about where Querrey was just before winning this first grass tournament of the season.
In a recent phone conference, Querrey talked about what happened just the week before at Roland Garros, home of the French Open.“I was tired, I was wiped out,” Querrey said, “I was not mentally prepared. I was just letting off steam.”
What Sam Querrey was referring to was his first-round loss to Robby Ginepri at the French Open. After the match Querrey admitted that once it was clear he was going to be in a dog fight, all he wanted to do was get off the court and go home to California. During the match, he was stalling as he muttered to himself. He was whipped and his attitude and actions, by his own admission, were unprofessional. But he couldn't help himself.
Querrey said, “I was frustrated and angry at myself and it was taking energy out of me.”
Querrey abruptly left the French Open leaving his doubles partner, John Isner, without a partner.
This year has been a grueling schedule for Querrey who was in 16 events.Nadal by comparison has only played in nine events. But after Querrey won earlier in Belgrade, Craig Boynton, the coach of Sam's close pal John Isner, noticed: "Sam was done. He hit the wall. From that point on, he was glassy-eyed."
So what changed between that meltdown and the Queens tournament in England? “I did nothing tennis related for six or seven days. I cleared my mind,” Querrey related at the conference.
So going into Wimbledon, Querrey has a better frame of mind. “I’m trying to keep a good positive attitude and if I lose, I’ll be bummed, but I’ll go on.”
There might not be big money on Querrey, now ranked 21st in the world, on winning Wimbledon, but his recent victories has given him confidence.
“The taste of victory pushes you to work harder,” Querrey says,” It puts you on high to get to the next level of what it is like to win masters.”