It's too bad Dick lost, but if you see his history it's really amazing for him to get where he got at the USopen! The guy didn't have a ranking in 2000! He had such a great come-back!
I always enjoy reading about his career. Here's what Wertheim said about his run at the USopen:
NEW YORK -- When Tim Henman looked at the draw and learned the identity of his next opponent at the U.S. Open, he must have thought that it was turn-back-the-clock night at the National Tennis Center. If the rain ceases and desists, the fifth seed will take the court Friday against Belgium's Dick Norman . And in other news, grunge is all the rage; David Caruso is the hottest television actor in the business; and Newt Gingrich has more power than the president.
Norman, now 31, was last heard from in 1995. That year at Wimbledon, he beat Stefan Edberg before losing to Boris Becker in the fourth round. Norman then fell off the radar screen, no easy task when you're 6-foot-8 and have a mane of red hair that trails behind you like a rudder. What was supposed to be a breakthrough at Wimbledon was instead a pinnacle. After he performed his act on Centre Court, he went back to playing tennis' roadhouses and hotel lounges. The defeats mounted and, as he put it, "I wasn't having any fun, which was the worst part."
Norman's game was predicated on a thundering, lefty serve. But when his first ball missed the box, he was a vulnerable, plodding player. "He reminded me of Magnus Srejber , albeit with a cleaner criminal record," said one tennis insider, referring the hard-serving, 6-8 Czech who made a modest splash in the mid-'80s but recently was in the news for an insider-trading arrest.
By 1998 Norman's ranking, once as high as No. 111, was in the nether regions of the ATP computer. His body and mind both fried, he quit the circuit and retreated to his home of Waregem to relax and to give lessons at the local club. It was a fine existence, but soon he wearied of feeding balls to Mlle. Malisse, of telling Mlle. Rochus, "Good, but next time try and apply some topspin."
Two years after leaving the tour, he decided to give it one last go. He played the sub-bush leagues, trolling for points by playing the prequalifiers to get into the qualifiers to get into the main draws at random Challengers. But he was infinitely happier than when he was making main draws. "Being in the real world helped me enjoy what I had," he said. "When I came back I knew right away that I was facing a challenge, but I was ready for it and better prepared than when I was first starting out."
Incrementally, he improved his ranking and, more important, made strides in his game. He will never be accused of being fleet afoot, but he is in shape. Though he still cranks his serve, he claims that he's hitting it more accurately than ever. This summer he went on something of tear, winning three European Challengers -- often beating players a full decade younger -- and elevating his ranking to the point that he made the U.S. Open qualifying draw. "I was thinking that if I [qualified], I could say that I have played in all four Grand Slams," he said.
Before his first qualifying match, he watched a tape of Jimmy Connors , then 39, beating Aaron Krickstein in a five-set epic in 1991. Inspired by Connors, Norman knifed through the draw, beating top seed Lars Burgsmuller in the final round. Norman was ecstatic, but his run wasn't over. On Wednesday, in front of a few dozen fans, he took the court against Bohdan Ulihrach , another player years removed from his salad days. After losing the first two sets, Norman rallied improbably. Behind his serve and some high-risk/high-reward ballstriking, he leveled the match at two sets. By now, the crowd had swollen to perhaps a hundred fans, peering over each other to watch two veterans fight for their lives. When the Belgian served out the match and the Norman conquest was complete, the crowd, though unaware of his backstory, erupted in appreciation for his effort.
Norman, however, was surprisingly subdued. It was his biggest win in seven years, but shortly after the match, he wore roughly the same expression as he did feeding balls in Waregem. As he sees it, the time he spent away from tennis conserved his resources, so in tennis years, he is still a young pup. "If you had said to me, even earlier this summer, that I'd be in the second round of the U.S. Open, I would say, 'No way,'" he told Belgian reporters. "But now that I'm here, I want to keep going. Anything can happen. Just being here, I am proof of that."