This weekend, our occasional contributor Patrick Rourke made the trip to Memphis, Tennessee to watch a few days of the ATP Memphis Open, a 250 event. He was kind enough to put together a few posts - the first such post being an interview with wildcard Jared Donaldson.
Here's the second post: an interview with qualifier Austin Krajicek following his third round qualifying win over Marcos Giron (but prior to his thrilling third set tiebreak win over #8 seed Mikhail Kukushkin). Take it away, Patrick!
P: First of all, congrats on your match today.
A: Thank you.
P: These courts are obviously a lot different than Quito, tell me a little about that experience.
A: Yeah, it’s obviously a completely different scenario there, with the altitude and obviously the clay court. But the conditions are very fast there as well, and I think that them using regular duty balls here makes it a little bit less of an adjustment than if they were using heavy duty balls. But, yeah Grandstand is significantly slower than Stadium, so I had a good practice this morning out there and kind of got used to it. But the conditions are good for my game and I feel like I’m serving well and finishing points the right way.
P: Talk about playing at altitude. In Medellín [last September] you obviously had your breakthrough, beating [Joao] Souza and [Alejandro] Gonzalez, two really accomplished clay court players to win your first Challenger title.
A: That one was at altitude as well, probably about half of what Quito was, so I don’t mind the 5-6,000 feet range, it isn’t too bad. You can still play full out, it just gives you a little extra pop on your serve and forehand. That's a little bit different than Quito is for sure, but I don’t mind the altitude at all -- I played well down there and hopefully I get some more matches there. I’ve got a couple tournaments coming up in Mexico, in some altitude, so hopefully I can repeat one of those weeks.
P: How are you going to balance singles and doubles?
A: It’s difficult. It’s one of the bigger problems I have right now. Obviously when I’m playing doubles, and then being able to get to qualies at a tour event in time if I’m playing singles, it’s really difficult. But it’s just something that you have to deal with, I mean everyone has the same problem. So it’s just a process that I still haven’t by any means perfected, but I’m just working on it every week, trying to see what the best option is every week.
P: Would you like a full time doubles partner? You've had some success recently with JP (Smith) and Donald (Young).
A: Yeah that would be nice. I think for a lot of the guys I’ve been playing with, our schedules have been pretty hit or miss, not the same obviously, so it’s tough to play with the same guy every week. So as long as you focus on singles, schedule-wise, I think it’s going to be tough to have a steady partner. But I take it week by week, and hopefully sooner or later I’ll click with someone and it’ll stick.
P: Well, convince JP to go to Mexico for me and you two can play together.
P: Last question: talk about the rule changes* in college tennis. What are your thoughts about them?
A: Yeah the rule changes are tough. That makes it pretty difficult, the no-ad in singles and just a set in doubles to six, that makes it really quick. Obviously it wasn't like that when I was in school, it’s an interesting change, but I wouldn't particularly care for it. But it speeds up the game a little bit, so hopefully it gets more people interested in tennis in college around the country. We’ll see how it works out the rest of the year. You still have the beat the guy you’re playing, it’s not a major change, but it’s a little bit different. I think it makes guys really focus more, so maybe the quality will be a little better, because guys have to get on top early, because there’s not that much time. We’ll see how it works the rest of the year. But I’m not too disappointed that it wasn't like that when I was in school. (laughs)P: Thanks for your time Austin, and good luck the rest of the way
* Ed. Note: This discussion is in reference to the use of no-ad scoring and several other controversial rule changes. Yesterday (the day after this interview), the NCAA announced - to much surprise - that it would not be implementing the changes for the national championships this spring.