EMIRATES ATP RANKINGS - STARS OF TOMORROW
Ryan Harrison: Making Strides
by Matt Fitzgerald|
The United States has a rich tradition of producing tennis champions. Six Americans have been ranked No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, with Andy Roddick being the latest to hold the top spot in 2004.
Ryan Harrison hopes to be next in line. Long considered one of the future stars of the game, Harrison won his first tour-level match at just 15 and has found success early in his professional career, cracking the Top 100 as an 18 year old on 25 July 2011. Since joining this cornerstone group of players, Harrison has maintained his status, peaking at No. 43 this past July.
“I think it’s one of those deals where these guys are all very good players. You have to understand it’s a process,” Harrison tells ATPWorldTour.com. “Whenever you’re working, it’s not all going to just happen tomorrow. That’s a difficulty of breaking in. To jump into the Top 100 in quick fashion is pretty unheard of. For most guys, it takes a while.
“I had to play a couple years at the Futures and Challengers before breaking that barrier. I think over time, you develop confidence and expect more of yourself. It kind of just falls into place. You don’t know when it’s going to happen. That was the attitude I had.”
In reflecting on his rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings, Harrison called out his performance at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in 2011 as the point in time where he realised he had the potential to compete with the best players in the world.
“It was before I broke into the Top 100 later that year. I made the round of 16 there and played Roger Federer,” recalls Harrison. “I felt like I played him well on the big stage and it gave me confidence later on that year, when I reached two semi-finals and broke the Top 100.”
Now 20, Harrison is hoping for an even bigger breakthrough in 2013. The Austin, Texas resident is seeking his first ATP World Tour title and is optimistic the sum of all parts will come together.
“I want to achieve certain ranking goals. Obviously I want to improve on where I got last year and keep building,” Harrison says. “All I can do is prepare the best I can before the match. Once you get on the court, you have what you have. You don’t really have time to improve when you’re playing. It’s all going to be done with practice and preparation.”
As he looks to break further ground this season, Harrison has some advice for his younger compatriots aspiring to compete at tour-level events week in and week out.
“You need to find consistency in your preparation,” says Harrison. “Those days when you get down on yourself when you have hard moments, and don’t feel like being productive are probably the most important ones. Anyone can work on a day when they feel motivated, but to get up and work on a day when you’re not feeling your best is ultimately what makes the difference.”