I haven't seen this one posted in here yet:
Biofile: The Frank Dancevic Interview
By Scoop Malinowski
Monday, August 03, 2009
Dancevic on pre-match feeling: I try to stay relaxed. I try to just put the music on, think about what I gotta do on the court.
Frank Dancevic's first serve has always been one of his best weapons so no one was more surprised than Dancevic himself when he stepped up to serve in the final set of tightly-contested US Open qualifying match only to find himself utterly unarmed.
Amid sweltering court conditions, a drained, dazed Dancevic stepped up to the baseline to hit his first delivery and was struck by the sight of an absent alley — his Wilson racquet.
"It was late in the third set. And I was so — I think I had heat stroke — I was so mentally just tired. I couldn't even get my mind to think any more," Dancevic said. "The ref called time, I got my towel ready to serve. I looked down and it was like, 'There's something missing here.' So everybody was looking at me, like, 'What's this guy doing?' And I walked back and just got my racquet. Kind of made it as I went to get my water. So it didn't look real, because it was one of those really embarrassing moments, I was trying to play it off, like (no problem)."
Despite the temporary loss of his racquet, Dancevic went on to win that match. Before he first picked up a racquet, the Niagra Falls native's stick of choice was a hockey stick. Like many Canadians, Dancevic grew up as an avid hockey player and fan, rooting for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His natural athleticism and aggression translated to the tennis court though Dancevic recalls experiencing a bit of a competitive culture shock playing the very first tournament of his life.
Tennis is a game of legs, Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg once remarked. But in his tournament debut, Dancevic unwittingly brought an opponent to his knees as playing suddenly gave way to praying.
"I was nine, playing under 10 tournament. And I was beating a guy 6-0, we were playing an eight-game pro set," Dancevic recalls of his first tournament experience. "And he went in the corner, got on his knees and started praying. Nine-years-old, I'll never forget that one [smiles]. The first match I ever played."
He drove his first opponent to seek some divine intervention and Dancevic has driven himself to great lengths in posting some of his best career results recently.
In a battle of former Indianapolis finalists, Dancevic had the last word last month.
The 24-year-old Dancevic defeated two-time finalist Dmitry Tursunov 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 — his first win in four career meetings with Tursunov — to advance to the semifinals of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships two weeks ago. It was Dancevic's second successful road trip to the home of the Indy 500.
Two years ago, Dancevic was the last direct entry into the draw and drove from his home in Niagra Falls to Indianapolis where he beat then fifth-ranked Andy Roddick before bowing to Tursunov, 6-4, 7-5.
"I drove down from Niagara to Detroit to pick up my girlfriend and I said ‘Let’s do it again!’ I got here Thursday thinking I was playing qualies, then I got the good news that I was the last direct acceptance," Dancevic said.
An aggressive player who owns a biting one-handed backhand and aims to play all-court tennis, Dancevic beat David Nalbandian at Wimbledon last year and played through qualifying to reach the Eastbourne final in June before bowing to Tursunov.
Currently ranked No. 111, Dancevic returns to action in Washington, DC tonight where he takes on qualifier Santiago Giraldo with the winner set to face 10th-seeded Tommy Haas.
An explosive player on court, the amiable Dancevic displays a self-depracating sense of humor off court.
Tennis Week contributing writer Scoop Malinowski, who made the trip to DC for this week's Legg Mason Tennis Classic, caught up with Dancevic for this Biofile interview.
: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds.
: September 26, 1984 in Niagara Falls, Canada.
: "Goran and Pete Sampras."
: "Lots of 'em [smiles]. Little Joe, Chicken Wing, lot of different nicknames. Frank The Tank. I just learned that one last year. I thought it was funny. I had a giggle with that one."
: "Golf. Love fishing in my off time. Probably my favorite thing to do when I'm not on court, I'm on a boat fishing. Pretty much it. I'm pretty low-key."
: "Good one. Probably Gladiator is up there. Aw man, that's a tough one. Matrix. I'll give you one more — Men of Honor."
Favorite TV Shows
: "Not a big TV fan."
Last Book Read
: "Not About The Bike."
: "More of a rock guy, U2, I like techno, dance, getting into it. You wouldn't know any of those names."
First Tennis Memory
: "I was nine, playing under 10 tournament. And I was beating a guy 6-0, we were playing an eight-game pro set. And he went in the corner, got on his knees and started praying. Nine-years-old, I'll never forget that one [smiles]. The first match I ever played. There's another. I actually knocked a guy's coffee right out of his hand one time all over his white shirt. He wasn't too happy about that. On the sidelines. Actually hit his coffee like dead on and splattered everywhere like a bomb. I caught a forehand a little late, skid off the line, it just bee-lined right at his coffee. He didn't have time to react, it just hit it dead on."
: "I try to stay relaxed. I try to just put the music on, think about what I gotta do on the court."
: "I'd have to say a dessert — chocolate brownie, hot brownie, with vanilla ice cream on top."
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
: "Definitely peanut butter chocolate."
: "Me and my friend, we made this stand outside of a hotel and sold burgers and called them 'Yummy Burgers.' To the workers around there. We were both eleven years old. Made about 400 bucks over the summer."
: "Acura Integra (silver)."
: "Jeep Cherokee (blue)."
Favorite Players To Watch
: "I've obviously admired Federer. His game is more towards what I want to lean my game's style toward."
Greatest Sports Moment
: "Oh, tough one. I would have to say the quarterfinals of the Masters Series (2007 in Montreal). Playing against Rafa — I didn't end up winning the match, I ended up losing the match but it was just an incredible feeling. In front of my home crowd and playing that match, it was unbelievable. Even though I lost the match it was probably the most fun I ever had playing a match. Two years ago that tournament I was playing great."
Most Painful Moment
: "Was getting injured last year and being out for months. And having huge events, knowing that I could do well and could get my ranking up. But just not being able to play, not being able to do anything. Just being in bed and having to stick it out and just waiting. Not knowing how long it would be till I'm ready to play again."
: "Canadian Open, US Open, all the Grand Slams."
Funny Tennis Memory
: "Oh, there's a lot. I actually knocked a guy's coffee right out of his hand, one time, all over his white shirt. He wasn't too happy about that. On the sidelines. Actually hit his coffee, like, dead on, and splattered everywhere, like a bomb. That was a while ago, I was like 15. I caught a forehand a little late, skid off the line, it just bee-lined right at his coffee. He didn't have time to react. It just hit it dead on."
Closest Tennis Friend(s):
"Close with the Canadians and Yugoslavian guys. I'm pretty much friends with most of the guys on the Tour."
Funniest Player(s) Encountered
: "That's a good one. I know a couple but I don't want to give them their fame for this [smiles]."
: "I would say Nadal."
Embarrassing Tennis Memory
: "Walking up to the line without my racquet one time [laughter]. I think it happened at the US Open during qualies two years ago. It was late in the third set. And I was so — I think I had heat stroke — I was so mentally just tired. I couldn't even get my mind to think any more. The ref called time, I got my towel ready to serve. I looked down and it was like, 'There's something missing here.' So everybody was looking at me, like, 'What's this guy doing?' And I walked back and just got my racquet. Kind of made it as I went to get my water. So it didn't look real, because it was one of those really embarrassing moments, I was trying to play it off, like (no problem). (Did you end up winning?) I won it. Against a Czech guy Jan Vanek."
People Qualities Most Admired
: "I just love to see good people. People with a good heart. If you have a good heart, it means a lot and it takes you far in life. Where ever — on and off the court. And I like to see when players treat the fans good. Treat the ballboys and people on court with respect. I think it shows a lot from a player."