I knew that Thai is mentally weak, but never knew that he had temper issues. Good to see him working with sports psychologist. Interesting pre-match routine
Once saddled with temper issues that got him suspended from participating in the United States Tennis Association program, a more composed Thai-Son Kwiatkowski has figured out how to channel his emotions into victories on the tennis court.
Crediting renowned sports psychologist Jim Loehr, as well as his father, Tim, and USTA coaches, Kwiatkowski has come up with a pre-match motivational routine that includes listening to house music to get his feet moving and an inspirational speech from cinematic legend Rocky Balboa (VI) in which the down-and-out fighter rips into his son for blaming others for his failures.
The fiery talk starts with a washed-up Rocky saying: "You got to be willing to take the hits and not point fingers saying you ain't what you want to be because of him or her or anybody.''
"Cowards do that and that ain't you, you're better than that!'' finshed Kwiatkowski, 17. "I find a quiet place, center my mind and don't think about the tournament, and not that I'm the last American standing. This is where I want to be, having fun and to show why I'm here.''
So instead of tossing rackets and f-bombs, Kwiatkowski is firing bombs and forehands past opponents. And Wednesday afternoon at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship was no different as the 6-foot-3 ninth seed from Charlotte, N.C., crushed Young Seok Kim of Korea, 6-1, 6-1 to advance into the Boys' 18s round of 16 against last week's Eddie Herr champion, No. 6 Christian Garin of Chile.