Friday, November 2, 2012

Who is Jerzy Janowicz?

Who in the world is this guy Jerzy Janowicz?  A few days ago most people who consider themselves knowledgeable in tennis didn't have a clue who he was.  What a statement he has made this week!  With a strange BNP Paribas Masters tournament in Paris this week already with Federer pulling out at the last minute, Nadal still injured, and Djokovic losing in his first round match, a young Polish qualifier has taken full advantage.  He started by beating 19th ranked Philip Kohlschreiber, went on to beat 14th ranked Marin Cilic, then taking out 4th ranked Andy Murray, and if that wasn't enough decided to give it another go with 9th ranked Janko Tipsarevic.  There are a lot of players who have been around the tour for years who haven't had such a good tournament as that, beating four top 20 players back to back.  

He started out his quarterfinal looking rather tired and lethargic after already expending so much energy this week, losing the first set.  He then seemed to get his bearings, though, and soon was hitting winners one after the other with incredible power and accuracy.  He also has amazing finesse, however, using a delicate drop shot many times over, to the frustration of his opponents.  Add a great serve to that and he has the potential to be the next big thing.

Granted, this was a strange week, with the top 8 guys definitely in another place mentally, thinking ahead to next week's London World Tour Finals and obviously not full giving themselves to winning in Paris.  I'm sure when Andy Murray ended up surprisingly losing that second set, for example, suddenly the thought of putting a bunch of effort into not only coming back to win that match, but also giving more energy to going further in the tournament suddenly didn't sound so appealing or even wise.  However, a lesser opponent wouldn't have had the mental strength to keep fighting through to the end.

I think most who follow tennis are wondering who is going to be the next one to step it up and make a name for themselves, winning some of the bigger events.  Guys like Raonic, Tomic, Dmitrov, and other young guys who seem to have potential are names that are tossed around, but so far no one has made it big.  I'm not saying that Jancowicz is the man, but I think he has not only the weapons in his game, but also seemingly the mental toughness to not be afraid of the bigger opponents.  Of course, one tournament doesn't prove anything - it needs to be followed up over and over, so we will see what next year brings for this young guy, about to turn 22.  But regardless, the name Jerzy Janowicz has made itself known in the tennis world this week by making it to at least the semifinals of a Masters 1000 event, taking out four top 20 opponents in the process.

P.S.  Just a post-script after watching the semis.  Wow, wow, wow!  This guy has truly been amazing.  I thought maybe he would be too tired to pull off another one today.  But he held strong and got another top 20 scalp under his belt.  I'm truly amazed at what he has been able to do.  No matter what happens tomorrow, he has made a name for himself and it will be fun to watch what he is able to do in 2013.

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