FLUSHING MEADOWS – Is Ryan Harrison America’s Great Hope?
Well, he certainly hopes so.
“I mean, hearing the good stuff is always exciting,” he said. “But I think that those guys have obviously had such extraordinary careers. They’ve done so well for U.S. tennis. I’ve got such a long ways to go. Hearing stuff like that doesn’t really come into play. I mean, I’ve never made third round of a slam. After that you got to get second week. It only gets tougher from there.
“The closer you get to the top, the more difficult it gets. I have a long ways to go. I do believe I can get there ‑‑ and I’m going to do my best to get there ‑‑ but it’s not going to be easy.”
And it won’t be easy in the second round when he get Juan Martin Del Potro, after the young American beat Benjamin Becker 7‑5, 6‑4, 6‑2 to win a round this year.
“It’s going to start with my serve,” he said. “If I serve well, everything kind of becomes a lot less, I guess, pressure on the rest of my game because I can dictate and I can actually swing out on some return games and have a little bit of a crack because there’s not as much pressure. It’s going to start with that.
“If things go my way, then I know I can return well enough to where I can put some pressure on him. I play good defense, so with some of his shot‑making, I can make him hit a couple extra balls on some of his service games.
“Like I said, it’s not going to be easy, but I think I have the game to do it.”
That’s great confidence and he will need it to beat the No. 7 seed, but there is work to be done. Harrison has a goal to make the second week, but he knows the obstacles in front of him. Just 20, he has a long career ahead of him and can work on his game and make this Open a learning experience.
“Obviously you want to, but I’ve got a really tough opponent next round,” he said. “I know I can do well and I know I can win this match if I play well. It’s going to be not easy, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
“It will be fun.”
Yes it will. Watching this American always is.