Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Catching up with Bradley Klahn

Bradley Klahn helping the Cardinal. Sameer Kumar is in the
background. (c) Jonathan Kelley, On the Rise
A couple of weeks ago, during the NCAA Regionals, I had the opportunity to talk with Bradley Klahn, the former Stanford star who has been serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the Cardinal. Klahn, who won the NCAA singles title in 2010, reached a career high of #63 on the ATP in 2014. Klahn hasn't played since February 2015, at which point he underwent back surgery and has been in rehab/recovery mode ever since.

On this day, Stanford had just won the first round over Notre Dame, a match that was played indoors due to weather, with senior Nolan Paige clinching the win. The following day, Stanford would punch its ticket to Tulsa with a dramatic 4-3 win over host Northwestern.

How are you enjoying your assistant volunteer coach gig? 

It’s been fun. I’m very thankful to [Associate Head Coach] Brandon [Coupe] and [Head Coach] Paul Goldstein for letting me help out the team a little bit. Stanford tennis meant a lot to me and I’ve really enjoyed working with the guys. We’ve got a great group of individuals who work hard and are a lot of fun to be around. 

What’s your focus while you’re doing this? 

Right now it’s just trying to help the team as much as I can, if I feel like I have something to offer the team. Brandon was such a great assistant for me at Stanford and I’ve known Paul a long time. Like I said, I was very fortunate when they asked me to come on board and help out, and just do my best to help the team improve; see them improve as individuals on and off the court. 

A lot of people have been asking about how your recovery is coming. 

It’s coming along a lot better the last couple of months. I still don’t have any set timeline. At this point I’ve been out over a year and had some struggles, up and down, and dealing with injuries is never easy. But I’m still 100% committed to getting back and I feel like I have a good plan right now in place to get me back out there. I don’t have any expectations as to when I’ll get back out there, but I love playing tennis, I love playing professionally, and when it’s taken away from you for a while it gets tricky. I certainly was doing well before I got injured and I’ve dealt with it a while. Now it’s just about finding that happiness and being really grateful for the opportunity that I have to still try and play, and work hard to get back out there. 

Are you following the pro tour much? 

I’ve been following it a little bit. I go in waves. Sometimes it’s challenging when you’re off for so long, you want to be out there, you want to be a part of it, have fun and do what you love. I’ve grown up playing tennis all my life, so when you don’t get that competition for a while, that’s what I miss most, just being out there, competing. 

Are you in contact with friends on tour? 

I keep in touch with them a little bit, and I’m in LA, so I see a fair amount of the guys when they come and train in Carson. Those are a lot of my good friends that I’ve traveled with, grown up playing with through juniors. So that’s another hard part, not being able to spend as much time with them out there. And I keep in touch with my coach, Stanford Boster quite frequently. He’s working with Mitchell Krueger and Stefan Kozlov. He was with Bjorn Fratangelo last year and now Bjorn’s with Brad Stine. 

Did you face Northwestern when you were in college? 

I don’t think we did. We certainly never played at Northwestern. I have family from the Midwest, so coming back to Chicago is nice. I love the area. But no, we never played. 

Are you guys hoping for better weather for tomorrow?

We’ll play wherever they put us. I think that’s the great thing about our team… indoor, outdoor, I think they’re ready. They’ve certainly played well in both places, and Notre Dame is a great indoor team.

[Note: the Northwestern/Stanford match was played outdoors.]

Did you overlap with any of these players? 

No, the seniors this year came in right after I finished. 

So you helped recruit them? 

I certainly met them when they were coming on their recruiting trips when I was a senior. I’ve done my best to keep up with the guys on the team. And once a Stanford Cardinal, always a Stanford Cardinal. 

Nice seeing Nolan get the clinch? 

Yeah, it was great to see. He’s a senior, came out, clinched both singles and doubles points. I’m just so happy for him, playing excellent tennis, staying calm out there and really had a lot of chances throughout the second set. He didn’t quite get them but just hung tough. The team played really hard today, competed tough. 

Thanks a lot. 

Thank you.

For more Bradley, On the Rise contributor Beau Treyz had a wide ranging interview with him last summer. Enjoy! http://beautreyz.podbean.com/e/episode-15-steadily-climbing/

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