Originally Posted by mikej
i think you're too down on kudla based on one match you saw - his overall body of work is very solid
he's ranked 166 - that's higher than anyone you mentioned in those three matches except blake and reynolds (who is barely above him, ranked 162)
yes, sock and johnson have bigger games, kudla doesn't base his game around huge weapons like they do - but they're both ranked below him despite good us open showings (sock 220, johnson 174)
klahn and williams aren't close to his ranking (klahn 316, williams 277)
i think kudla would have totally wasted his time in college - he would've been too fit and steady for most college players to compete with - wouldn't have been stretched to develop bigger shots since he wouldn't have needed them to win comfortably - on tour he's pushed to up his game, and clearly he's doing pretty well with that ranking at 19 yrs old
OK, 166 at 19yo is not bad, but by no means amazing either. But that's not the point. He does have a pretty good resume and he's fit and moves well which is all good. But he does not have any big weapon, no big serve, no big FH, no big BH... He has not beaten anyone better ranked than 88 (Kamke) this year and most of his wins are against guys ranked above 200.
He has had some tight matches against good players but I have a hard time seeing him move up the rankings without a drastic change in his game. He needs to develop a big weapon! Maybe he can, and that's great for him, but when I watched him play against S Johnson in Tiburon, he was really powerless. Johnson had an easy time to win this with his big serve and FH.
Watching B Klahn yesterday who lost in QF too, Brad has more weapons (better serve and FH), and in only 4 months on tour he has already beaten a world top 35 and former top 10, and nearly beat Blake (77) last week. Now, I agree it's not enough data to draw definitive conclusions but that's the feeling I have watching these various guys. Kudla is a very good player but he has to change his game if he wants to move up.