Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ryan Harrison is Putting in the Work

(August 14, 2013)--Three weeks after signing on with USTA coaching, Ryan Harrison very nearly pulled off his first career win against a top ten foe when he met David Ferrer at the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday.

Harrison took the first set and battled the whole way, even breaking Ferrer to get back on serve late in the third set, but eventually the 21-year-old Shreveport, Louisiana Native fell to the World No. 4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 4-6.

The defeat drops Harrison's record against the ATP's top ten to 0-19. That could be demoralizing for any young player, which makes Harrison's dogged pursuit of success on the ATP tour all the more commendable.

Instead of hanging his head or patting himself on the back for "almost" taking out one of the tour's best players, Harrison hit the practice courts immediately after his 2:42 struggle with Ferrer:
With Brad Gilbert, who is currently coaching up many young Americans during his trial run with the USTA, imparting some of his wisdom on Harrison, things are bound to turn around for Harrison soon. Harrison may not be as wildly talented as Andre Agassi or Andy Rodddick--players that Gilbert has helped get to the promised land--but he's talented, he's driven, and he's still young.

"I just wish I had served a little better," the former World No. 43 said after Tuesday's loss. "Obviously, I had some chances. I feel like my game is right there on the brink of playing those top guys. That's kind of where you want it."

He added: "Obviously, it would have been great to get a win today, but I know that, going in, if I compete the way I can and play the way I'm capable of, I'm going to be able to challenge just about anybody."

Harrison, currently ranked 102, has received a wild card into this year's U.S. Open. In 2010 as an 18-year-old, Harrison notched his first career top 20 win when he defeated Ivan Ljubicic in the first round. It wasn't necessarily a sign of things to come, as Harrison owns a career record of 3-26 to go with his zero against the top ten, but it was a clear indication that Harrison has the talent to do damage against top players.

It has been a rough run for Harrison since he reached his career-high ranking of 43 last July. Since it hasn't killed him, could it be that it will make him stronger?

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