Mott Latest To Join Aussie Brigade In Challengers
The young Australian has jumped nearly 400 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings this year
Blake Mott wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue a pro tennis career less than 12 months ago, but the Australian is now firmly committed and quickly rising up the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Under the tutelage of former ATP World Tour pro Peter Luczak, the 20-year-old achieved a career breakthrough this February at the $75,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Launceston, Australia. Entering the draw as a wild card, Mott beat several veteran players en route to winning the title. At No. 721 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Mott became the fifth-lowest ranked Challenger winner since 2000 and one of three teenage titlists this year (joining Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz).
Although Mott called his experience in Launceston “one of the best weeks of my life,” he said it wasn’t a surprise to win matches against Top 200 players.
“I was out for three or four months last year just to take some time off to figure out what I wanted to do, so I knew my level was much higher than my ranking,” said Mott, speaking from last month’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Sarasota, Florida. “I had a good training block the week before and was seeing the ball well. I was showing a lot of discipline for every point. The Aussie crowd were awesome and I really liked the town. When you’re happy and everything is going well off the court, it’s easy to play well on the court.”
Afterwards, Mott came down with a case of the flu, which kept him from full strength from over a month. Although the virus halted the momentum he had built in Launceston, the Australian said it was part of the ebbs and flows of being on tour.
“That’s the thing about tennis: One week you’re in the final and the next week you’re playing in the first round of qualifying,” said Mott. “You just have to accept it.”
Mott is part of a wave of young Australians climbing the Emirates ATP Rankings, including Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth and Luke Saville. Although they’re all looking to achieve the same Top 20 status that Nick Kyrgios currently has, Mott perhaps has extra incentive in knowing he defeated Kyrgios less than three years ago at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Melbourne, Australia.
“I won, but he’s still somebody to look up to. He’s Top 20 and just a freak of talent,” he said. “We’ve got some great players coming up now. Our nation is quite lucky in terms of funding and sponsorship, which makes a big difference.”
With ATP Challenger Tour events in Australia held from October through February, Mott finds himself on the road for the remainder of the year. Although he’s enjoyed many of the places he’s traveled to on tour, he’s spent an increasing amount of time playing events in the U.S.
“I really like the U.S. tournaments because it’s the same language and a lot of the same atmosphere as Australia,” said Mott. “It’s like a home away from home.”