Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Tennis STAR in the Making: Bjorn Frantangelo

Bjorn Fratangelo is an American junior player who won the Boys’ Singles Title at the 2011 French Open, beating Dominic Thiem of Austria 3-6, 6-3, 8-6. 
Bjorn Fratangelo, French Open 2011
With the victory, Frantangelo - who lives and trains in Naples, Florida during the majority of the year - became the first American since John McEnroe in 1977, to gain the French Open Boys’ Singles title. See his press conference following the French Open win.

Even though Americans don't typically have a great reputation for performance on the clay, Fratangelo was able to hone his skills with practice on clay courts in Florida.
"I learned really how to slide, how to move well on the surface," he commented. "It taught me to construct points. [With] indoor tennis, they just slap the ball one, two, three, point's over. But on clay... it's mental toughness. You really have to grind out the points long and hard..."
Fratangelo started his tennis career in the family basement at the age of three, hitting balls with a miniature racquet. He soon graduated to a real court and at eight years old began competing in youth tournaments. Frantangelo’s hard work and rise in the rankings culminated in his French Open victory and he hopes to continue the trend.
"It's just a matter of seeing what happens," he said. "The ultimate goal is to turn pro, make men's Grand Slam events and win. If I feel like my game gets good enough, I'll move to the pro level. If I need to develop more, I'll do that in college. Tennis is an up-and-down sport. One tournament doesn't make a career."

BORN: July 19, 1993
BIRTHPLACE: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
PLAYS: Right-handed, with double-handed backhand
COACH: Father, Mario
NAMESAKE: Hmmm…Bjorn Borg, his father’s favorite player
OTHER FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: Surprise…table tennis
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: Pittsburgh Steelers
OTHER TENNIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2009 USTA under-16 and 2010 USTA under-18 clay-court titles; represented the U.S. in Junior Davis Cup.

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