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post #51 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 12:50 AM
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Re: Irish Tennis

Originally Posted by paddyirl View Post
Matt Doyle won matches at Slams as an IRL player?? No??

Why does the article say first in Open Era.
This is from BBC Two:

He is the first man from the Republic of Ireland to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam since Matt Doyle lost in the first round in Melbourne in 1985.

Sorensen's second-round match is against American 33rd seed John Isner, who won last week's Auckland International, and will present a whole new challenge for the Irishman.

"I think it was an advantage to come through the qualifiers because I was used to the courts.
"The level between the qualies and the main draw, there is not such a big difference. You just need a bit of luck."
This is from the Times of London:

"Matt Doyle, of Irish descent, reached the fourth round of the US Open in 1982, where he was beaten by John McEnroe, also of Irish descent, but played under the Stars and Stripes and did not become a citizen of the Republic until 1985. Doyle used to be a regular guest at the Sorensen household: Louk recalls him vaguely and that he looked like a tall building. That may help him against Isner."
And I'm reprinting the whole article from the Guadian UK because it is pretty decent:

Ireland has a new hero. Louk Sorensen may speak with a German accent and is not a massive fan of Guinness, but none of that will matter after he made history for his country with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Lu Yen-hsun of Chinese Taipei, becoming the first Irishman to win a match at a grand-slam event in the Open era.

Until today, the 25-year-old could go unnoticed in Dublin but not after his first-round victory here. However, his professionalism meant there was no thought of celebrating with a glass of the black stuff. "I have another match to prepare for," he said. "I like it in the winter, but not in the summer, when it's hot."

In winning, Sorensen went one better than his father, Sean, who was the last Irishman even to play a grand slam match, at Wimbledon in 1980. "I'm feeling great," the world No 284 said. "It's the biggest achievement of my career so far, but let's just see how it goes in the next round," he said.

Ireland almost had two men in the main draw but the Birmingham-born Conor Niland fell at the last hurdle and was beaten in the last round of qualifying.

Before Sorensen, Irishmen could nurture the notion that one of their own had reached the last 16 of a grand slam, but when Matt Doyle achieved that feat at the US Open in 1982 he was playing under an American flag according to officials. However, although born in Redwood City, California, Doyle represented Ireland with aplomb in the Davis Cup in the 1980s. He became a national hero when he beat Eliot Teltscher in a Davis Cup World Group tie in 1983 who was playing for a United States team that included John McEnroe, then the Wimbledon champion.

Sorensen's father also played in that match and is now the captain of Ireland's Davis Cup team, something that may prove to be even more significant in July, when Ireland and Britain could find themselves playing each other, depending on the results of their first-round matches in March. "It's a long way away," he said. "First we have to beat Turkey. We'd be at home and if Andy Murray is going to play it is a huge thing for Irish tennis, so we'd be happy if he plays."

The last time Doyle played at the Australian Open was in 1985, which just happens to be the same year that Sorensen was born. The 25-year-old does not keep in touch with Doyle these days but remembers him being around when he was young. "He used to live at our house when I was a kid," he said. "Mats Wilander was there as well. [Doyle] was coaching him when he was the world No 1 so when I was three or four years old I knew him."

Sorensen is not exactly a traditional Irish name, as Louk readily admitted in an accent with rather more of a German twang to it than an Irish lilt. "It is Norwegian," he said. "My father is 100% Irish and my mother is 50% German and 50% Austrian."

His parents live in Dublin and though he visits regularly, he grew up in Germany and still spends most of his time in Stuttgart, where he plays in the third division tennis Bundesliga, which earns him enough money to travel around the Challenger Tour. His adventures have taken him as far as Kazakhstan but financial constraints mean he spends most of his time playing tournaments in Europe.

The Irishman said he had already received a stack of invitations on Facebook and after promising to return a call from his father, who he said was "very proud right now", Sorensen was off to begin preparations for his next match against the American John Isner.

Regardless of the result against the 6ft 9in Isner, Sorensen is likely to climb into the world's top 200 at the end of the fortnight here and with a bit of luck, he believes he can go further. "My goal is just to stay healthy over the whole year and then check the rankings," he said.

"But I believe that by the end of the year I can go maybe 150 and then I'll see, maybe I can go higher. I've been injured so many times the last years and now the last couple of months were really good, I stayed healthy and felt great. So maybe it's just everything coming together now."

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