King Reacts To Winning In Tiburon
Darian King sits down with USTA Pro Circuit broadcaster Mike Cation after winning his third ATP Challenger Tour title in Tiburon
Before July, you had two career Challenger quarter-finals. Now you have three Challenger titles. What does this mean about the progression you’ve made?
I’m very stoked. Me and [coach and brother] Chris, we go pretty hard on court and in the gym. I’ve been doing two-a-days and it’s now showing on court. I’m much stronger, much fitter, much faster. I’m now trying to believe in my game and it’s working, so I’m going to stick to it and hopefully keep progressing.
I always talk about knowing who you are, knowing what you can and can’t do on a tennis court. How has getting a better understanding of who you are as a tennis player impacted your game?
I think it’s a big deal. You have to know who you are. I’m not the strongest or biggest guy on the court, but I use my smarts. Me and Chris look at the players before, come up with a game plan and try to stick to it. If it’s not working, we try to maneuver around it. Sometimes I get frustrated in matches, but I still stick to the plan.
At 2-4 in the first set of the final, [Michael Mmoh] gave away two points. Did that signify anything for you, that he walked off for two points and that maybe he’s a little more tired than you are?
The first two games weren’t easy. We were having at least 10-ball rallies and using our legs to try and get the ball deep. My thing was to keep him out there because he came through the qualifying and played tough players all through in the main draw. Even if I went down, I was going down with a game plan. I’m glad it worked.
How do you get from where you are now into the Top 100 and into the main draw of major tournaments?
For me, it’s belief. A major problem for me before was doubting myself. Chris is getting me to go for my first serve more. My game is to mix it up, but you have to have a weapon when you get to the bigger guys. I know I’m going to be very tough to beat when I gradually get there.
Three straight weeks here in Northern California and then Las Vegas as well. What are you hoping to do in Stockton?
Just rest up. I’m playing Sekou Bangoura in the first round. He’s one of my good friends, but we won’t be friends on the court. I’m really looking to end this year well. My goal was to end the year in the Top 150 [of the Emirates ATP Rankings], but I guess I already surpassed that, so now I’m looking for something new.
How will you celebrate?
Just relax and have a good dinner for the host family that hosted me. Maybe take the day off, spend it with them and thank them for hosting me.