View Full Version : Blast from the past... Pros as juniors.

07-22-2005, 02:04 PM
players like Federer, Roddick, Safin, Coria, Hewitt, Nadal... do any of you remember hearing about them as a junior and their potential and such? share your experiences...

i just got into tennis last year so i had no idea who any of them were prior to them, i didnt watch tennis or play any before then either. right now i hear mofils, young so i wonder where they would be 5 yrs from now.

07-22-2005, 02:51 PM
I remember reading about Sampras being really excited because he'd just managed to beat David Wheaton but he went on to get thumped by Mal Washington. Seems he wasn't necessarily one of the one's to look out for earlier on in his career.

07-22-2005, 08:11 PM
hmmm sorry i dont remeber hearing about juniors except for people like Tommy Ho who burned out early...

07-22-2005, 08:15 PM
Yup. The ones you hear about as juniors are usually the ones who burn out. They put on so much stress and play so much with such high expectations, and...crash and burn. Most of the time.

Sampras was actually known for being bad when he was a kid. In his teenage years, instead of winning tournaments he was making changes in his game and just trying to develop.

Then look what he did in his career.

07-22-2005, 11:57 PM
Sampras had disappointing results after switching to a single-handed backhand but he wasn't ever considered 'bad'. He was always seen as one of the 'ones to watch', regardless of the age group he was in. Of the group he came up with, Al Parker who was the best of them from 12-14, was the only one who didn't make it on the circuit.

As to the guys you mentioned - Roddick, Federer, Coria etc- they were all top notch juniors. Have a look at the ITF rankings through the years and you'll see that they didn't just emerge on the pro tour but were big news in the junior ranks as well. Hewitt is the one, of those mentioned, who wasn't widely feted. Of course, he did hit the big time far earlier than the others so didn't play as much junior tennis as they did. To those names you could also add, on the women's side, Henin-H, Dementieva and Sharapova. They all had solid to splendid junior careers.

07-23-2005, 12:56 AM
I remember waiting in line to board a plane in Santiago in around late '93, and in front of me was this skinny kid with waist-length straight black hair with what looked like a posse around him, clucking like chickens. I asked someone and they said, well, you SHOULD know that's Marcelo Rios. Ahhh...yeah, sure, I guess I should have known that. Anyway, the kid didn't crack a smile and looked and acted like an arrogant little punk. Damn, I was right on that one. Flew all the way to Mexico City with him two rows ahead of me in business class. He was 18 and I think he may have just come into the ATP at the time.

08-05-2005, 09:22 AM
I seem to recall a Tennis Magazine article on Sampras' switch from the two-handed to the one-handed backhand...was he not still a junior when that article came out?

08-05-2005, 10:35 AM
Contrary to what many people believe most of the great pros were also great juniors. But the the converse is not true: Most great juniors do not become great pros.
I saw Coria play as a junior he was awesome. Agassi was 3 in the ATP world by the time he was 17, Chang won USTA juniors at Kalamazoo at age 15. This is from the Orange Bowl website:
Players Who Have Won Both the Orange Bowl Boys’ 18s and 16s titles
Player Orange Bowl 18s Winner Orange Bowl 16s Winner
Mariano Zabaleta 1995 1993
Jim Courier*  1987 1986
Ivan Lendl* 1977 1976
Bjorn Borg* 1972 1971
Billy Martin 1973-74 1970       
* Won Orange Bowl Boys' 16s and 18s titles in consecutive years 

Guillermo Coria was the last reigning Orange Bowl boys' 16s champion to reach the boys' 18s final the following year. He won the 1997 Orange Bowl boys' 16s title, then lost in the 1998 boys' 18s final to Roger Federer.

08-05-2005, 10:46 AM
my sense is that many top players were top juniors, unless they were on tour by age 17 or 18...

but pete sampras is a good lesson whereby he targeted being the best he could in the longer term... similar to tiger wood voluntarily radically restructuring his game after winning the masters at age 21 (???) in a landslide....