Many young players are touted as future stars of the game but too few achieve the potential they may have shown. However, there’s one player who’s really begun to create waves. Alexandr Dolgopolov of The Ukraine...
Many young players are touted as future stars of the game but too few achieve the potential they may have shown. However, there’s one player who’s really begun to create waves. Alexandr Dolgopolov of The Ukraine has been making steady progress up the rankings and in Melbourne he hit the limelight ... and developed a following. The 22 year old was ranked 46 at the start of the Open and his run there was exciting and an absolute joy to watch. As a four year old he was put on show at the Monte Carlo Country Club when he hit balls with one-time world No.4 and French Open finalist Andrei Medvedev who was coached by Alexandr’s father. “Thomas Muster was playing with me the most, and Marc Rosset, but I pretty much met all the players,” Dolgopolov said. “When there’s a kid on tour, all the players try to play with him. I had a nice time.” American Jim Courier who won two French Opens remembers watching this kid at Roland Garros hitting balls “and he never missed”. He has a bit of an unorthodox style of play but he remains so calm and composed on the court. In fact he says being relaxed on a court is his best quality as a player. Dolgopolov doesn’t really look like a tennis player. He is not as tall as many of them and doesn’t look as strong. His hair is pulled back by a metal headband and tied in a ponytail. When he upset  the fourth seed Robin Soderling to reach the quarters of major for the first time, in a wonderful display of all-court tennis, the huge crowd gave him a standing ovation and rightly so. I reported on radio in Australia the night before and the morning of the Soderling match, that while “he is not a household name, he is a name to be recognised and one to take careful note of”. Not only is he a superb player, he is also pretty smart. Computer programming is a hobby of his. He created a computer game, an online office game where the characters evolve, fights develop etc as an office environment is created in the game. Alexandr Dolgopolov is a breath of fresh air and he is going to be a star.