Re: Robby: Hard head on the hard courts for the US Open series
Ginepri's back, hoping to rekindle the magic
Defending RCA champ has struggled this season, unable to win consistently
By Mark Ambrogi
July 18, 2006
A year ago, Robby Ginepri arrived in Indianapolis ranked No. 98 and needing a boost.
He got one by winning the RCA Championships, beating two-time champion Andy Roddick along the way.
Ginepri then reached the semifinals in the Masters Series tournament in Cincinnati in August and in the U.S. Open. The 23-year-old finished the year ranked No. 17.
His ranking hasn't changed, but he needs another lift here as he has struggled with a 6-16 record this season. He is 96th in the yearly ATP points race and will play Alejandro Falla today at the Indianapolis Tennis Center.
"It's been a rough year so far," said Ginepri, the RCA's No. 4 seed. "It's similar to last year except for the rankings. I feel if I keep playing, good things are going to happen. I've had some bad luck this year. I haven't been winning too many matches."
Ginepri knows he must start winning now to keep his ranking. He has plenty of computer points to defend this summer as the rankings are determined by a revolving 52-week calendar.
Ginepri was set to play on grass in Newport, R.I., last week but withdrew because of a viral infection.
"I still was able to train pretty hard at home," said Ginepri, who lives in Kennesaw, Ga. "My heart is still in it and I'm looking forward to playing again. My batteries have been recharged."
Ginepri, who practiced on Stadium Court on Monday, has another edge in his favor. He likes playing in the heat; temperatures were in the 90s again Monday.
Ginepri said many fans have showed support since he arrived in Indianapolis.
"A lot of people have said 'glad to have you back' and 'hope you repeat,' " he said. "It's comforting to be back, and hitting out on (Stadium Court) felt like it did last year. I'm hitting the ball extremely well and feeling fit. So there's no reason why I can't do it again."
NBC analyst and Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier watched Ginepri's improvement last summer. Courier said Indy is an ideal venue for Ginepri's physical style.
"Last year the difference maker for him was in his shot selection and patience, something he improved immensely, which led to the win at Indy and the semis of the U.S. Open," Courier wrote in an e-mail. "He was a 'tough out' last summer."
Ginepri said he developed confidence during last summer that he could beat the top players.
At Cincinnati, Ginepri beat Marat Safin before losing to Roger Federer in three sets in the semis. In the U.S. Open, he showed his fitness and fire, too, by winning consecutive five-set matches over Tommy Haas, Richard Gasquet and Guillermo Coria before losing to Andre Agassi in five sets in the semis.
"What I was lacking last year was the confidence to play with the top guys," he said. "Now I know I can do it again. I've just got to sink my teeth into a tournament."
Ginepri said there have been several matches this year where he has made too many unforced errors.
"I need to tighten the screws," he said.