Get to Know Tommy Paul
A few weeks ago, few of you would have heard of the American tennis player Tommy Paul. That is until his fantastic run at the Australian Open where he managed to make it to the semi-finals and go up against one of tennis’ greatest.
He may not have made it all the way through, but he has already made a name for himself and has become the first American man to make it to the semis at Melbourne Park in over a decade.
Let’s get to know this All-American farm boy and get an idea of where his career can go from here.
Paul stands 185 cm tall and plays right-handed and has a two-handed backhand. He has been coached by Brad Stine and since he turned pro, he has earned a little over US$4.3 Million in prize money.
As of the start of February 2022, his career record stands at 96–80, winning 54.5% of the matches he’s in. He just has one career title.
On January 30, 2022, following his run at the Australian Open, he broke into the Top 20 for the first time in his career, landing in the Number 19 spot.
His best finish in a Grand Slam event was in the semifinals of the Aussie Open. Prior to that, he had made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2022.
Surf and Turf
Paul was born Thomas John Robert Paul on May 17, 1997, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey in the United States. He later grew up in North Carolina before moving to Florida.
He has spent time working on a farm and it’s something that he apparently enjoys.
In an interview with the ATP Tour, he said spoke about this saying:
“My mom and stepdad live on a farm in South Jersey, where they have roughly 100 chickens, six sheep, two dogs, a horse, and a cat.”
“I will go home and help around the farm. They have hay barrels in the field. I am operating the tractor to move the barrels around.”
“Anything from that, to pulling trees out of the ground. I am on it. Working around the farm is fun.”
In addition to helping out on the farm, the 25-year-old is also a surfer.
He spends a lot of time on the beaches of Florida since he has a house in Boca Raton. He also enjoys basketball and is a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association.
First Man in the Semis Since 2009
Aside from a career-best Grand Slam finish, Paul is also the first American man to make it to the semifinals of a Grand Slam in more than a decade.
The last time it happened was with Andy Roddick back in 2009. Paul was only six years old when Roddick achieved the feat.
To do so, he had to beat another American man, surprise Australian Open favorite Ben Shelton, who was on his first trip abroad.
This lack of American representation is something that has been ingrained into Paul by his coaches.
“American tennis is (important). Since I was young, that’s all we’ve been hearing,” Paul said.
“Since like 14 years old, the coaches have been telling us ‘we need new Americans, we need new Americans’. It’s kind of engraved in my head. It’s important to me. I think we all want it pretty bad for ourselves, but we want it for US tennis too.”
Holding His Own Against the Big Boys
To make it to the semifinals, Paul had to take down two Spanish players, a couple of Americans, and one German.
In the first round, he defeated Jan-Lennar Struff. Then in the second round, he beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Spaniard gave it his all and the match lasted a grueling five sets. In the third round, he beat fellow American Jenson Brooksby.
Then in the fourth round, he faced another Spanish player, this time Roberto Bautista Agut who pushed the match into a fourth round at the Margaret Court Arena.
His quarterfinals was against 20-year-old Ben Shelton, who had become quite the crowd favorite.
Unfortunately, Paul’s Australian Open run was ended by Novak Djokovic who dominated him in three sets.
In his post-match interview, he said that Djokovic gave him the chance to see the level he has to be at in order to defeat opponents of the Serb’s caliber.
“Playing the match and getting beaten like that kind of sucked. But, I mean, it’s great I got to see the level of where I want to be and know how good I have to play if I want to beat people like that. It was I think a good experience,” he said.
Keep Moving Up
Despite his loss, Paul has a lot of good expectations for his career going forward. After he went through his mistakes in his match against Djokovic, he said that he wants to keep moving up.
“I want to keep moving up the rankings, you know? It would be nice to end the year top-10. I feel like the way I started the year is the right path to do it,” he said.
“Obviously, I have a lot of matches to win this year. Hopefully get some titles, too. I don’t want to just lose in the semifinals. I want to have my name on some trophies.”
Before he played in the Australian Open, he was ranked Number 35 in the world and after that, he rose to Number 19 in the world rankings.
His next match is in the Davis Cup. He will be going up against Khumoyun Sultanov from Uzbekistan on February 3, 2023, for the men’s singles Davis Cup event.
The day after that, he is scheduled to go up against Sergey Formin.
For the remainder of 2023, Paul is expected to play in as many tournaments in the ATP Tour as possible.