American Tennis Pro Denis Kudla had a rather frustrating week at the 'office' in this week's Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas. Kudla is a battler on the circuit though he is now at an all time high ranking of 59 in singles so he is at last making some good dollars. He has in fact made US $1.2 million in his six years on the tour, but let's put that into perspective.
Two hundred thousand a year before tax and after expenses does not leave a pro tennis player a whole lot at the end of the year but it isn't a bad way to tour the World either. The frustrating thing about Kudla's week in Texas was that he was a whisker away from some much needed dollars but in particular some ranking points that would have eliminated the requirement for him to qualify for the smaller 64 man events. Currently he is right on the edge.
Kudla lost in the Round of 16 to big serving American John Isner by the typical Isner match score line of 7-6, 7-6 but his heart break didn't end there. Now Kudla is not really a doubles exponent as his current ranking of 600 plus suggests but he and fellow Countryman Don Young lost 9-11 in the third set super tie breaker to the greatest team of all time in Men's Doubles, the Bryan Brothers.
Kudla picked up almost $9,000 US for the singles effort and whilst I don't have the Doubles Prize money in front of me the smaller tournaments offer around $2,000 US for an early loss to each player, so it was a lucrative week none the less for Denis. If he had managed the tie breakers a little better against Isner he would have been guaranteed an extra $6,000 US plus double what he went home with if luck had been kind to them against the Bryans.
Yet that's Men's Pro Tennis for you, never a lot in it and usually it's a couple of points here and there that decide a match.
Denis Kudla picked up 20 ranking points for making the last 16 in the Men's Singles which has given his number a small boost on the rankings list. His 600 plus doubles ranking will probably stay the same. For the record Kudla scraped into the second round by a score line of 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 against a guy by the name of Mischa Zverev of Germany who is currently ranked 164 in singles. I suppose we could say the same thing about Zverev as we have about Kudla in regards to a close match and a score line which suggests it could have gone either way.
Look at how many games Zverev won ( 18 ) and look at how many Kudla won ( 17 ) and you tell me whether or not it seems totally unfair that a player goes out of a tennis tournament as the 'loser' sometimes. Tennis, tough sport to make a living out of. A sport of small margins and a sport of close line calls that may turn a match result if a linesman gets it wrong and Hawkeye is not at that particular smaller event.
Hats off to the Pros who make a living from a sport that requires some to hire a psychologist as well as a coach just to help them think better.......