09-07-2006, 04:40 PM
Last dance, Andy
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: New York New Englander
Re: Ryan Sweeting
It's been reported that Ryan will be traveling with the Davis Cup Team USA to be their hitting/practice partner when they go to Moscow at the end of the month.
Here's more news from Charles Bricker of the Sun-Sentinel:
Heat's On Ryan to Turn Pro
NEW YORK -- "Well, duh."
That was Rodney Harmon, director of men's tennis, reducing the most important question about Ryan Sweeting to two words.
The question: Does he turn pro or go back to the University of Florida after he gets home to Fort Lauderdale after serving as practice partner to the U.S. Davis Cup team in Russia, Sept. 22-24.
There is a succession of knowledgeable tennis people who think it's time, including his personal coaches, Harold Solomon and Andy Brandi. "He's got all the tools -- physically and mentally," Solly said Tuesday morning by phone from Lauderdale. "He still needs to get physically stronger, but he's ready."
Of course he's ready. Discount the five-game win over Guillermo Coria in the first round here, where Coria said "no mas" after pulling a hamstring and hitting five double faults in his first three service games (his shoulder wasn't exactly in the best of fitness, either).
But taking a two sets to one lead over Olivier Rochus in the second round before going down with cramps 6-0 in the fifth says he can compete at a high level on the ATP tour.
Ryan has either shut off his cell phone permanently or buried it in the bottom of his bag, because I can't get a return call from him. So I phoned Solly to see what he knows. Nothing. Same as when he left for New York. He hasn't made a decision, Harold said.
My gut feeling is he's leaning toward going back to Gainesville. When he came in for his post-match interview after Coria he was wearing a Gator baseball cap and his face lit up as he talked about (a) having an apartment for the first time and (b) "a serious girl friend." Ryan gives you a sense that school is a sort of safe haven for him, where he doesn't have to get beaten down by the big boys on the tour.
So. . .school or pro tour? I hope he waits until he gets back from Russia to decide because a week hanging out with Andy Roddick, James Blake, the Bryan brothers, captain Patrick McEnroe and coach Dean Goldfine is going to help him get a much more solid feel for what awaits him if he turns pro, and I think all these people can kick his ego up a notch and infuse him with a higher sense of excitement about professional tennis.
And remember, Solomon (Rice), Blake (Harvard), McEnroe (Stanford), Goldfine (Texas A&M) and the Bryans (Stanford) all went to college before turning pro. They know the value of college and the value of professional tennis. They can relate easily to Sweeting's situation.
"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."
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