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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, December 12, 2017

 
Sam Querrey

"I feel like men’s tennis is in a great place right now and it’s only getting better, especially with all the young guys out there," Sam Querrey said.

Photo credit: Stephen White/CameraSport

Sam Querrey was wowed by John Isner’s wedding.

The Davis Cup teammates will celebrate a reunion of sorts in New York.

The 13th-ranked Querrey, newlywed Isner, defending champion Ryan Harrison and Kei Nishikori are among the players entered in the inaugural New York Open set for February 11-18th at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island.

Several current and former American players, including Querrey, Stevie Johnson and James Blake, were on hand for Isner’s wedding to director Madison McKinley earlier this month—an experience that left Querrey buzzing as if still savoring a slice of wedding cake.


 

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“The wedding was amazing,” Querrey said in a conference call with the media to promote his appearance in the New York Open. “It was honestly the most amazing wedding I’ve ever been to or will probably ever go to. (It was) in South Carolina at this beautiful resort in Bluffton, South Carolina. A lot of tennis guys were there and everyone just had a blast. And I’m sure John and Maddie thought it went perfectly.”




Coming off the best season of his career that included a victory over Rafael Nadal in the Acapulco final, deposing defending champion Andy Murray en route to his first Wimbledon semifinal and backing that up surging to his first US Open quarterfinal, Querrey celebrated in the offseason taking time away from the court returning to training a couple of days ago feeling recharged.

The 30-year-old Querrey has come to realize that after a grinding year wedding parties and vacations are often as vital to his state of mind as weight rooms and windsprints.

“I actually went right from there to Hawaii for six days with my girlfriend for vacation that we had booked for about seven or eight months," Querrey said. "The older I get—I’m 30 years old now—more time off is beneficial for me than when I was younger.

"I’m in my second day back of pre-season and the time off was really good and it let me relax and clear my mind. And I’m only two days into pre-season but these two days have been great so far and I’m excited to be back on the court. I’m feeling fresh so that’s kind of the balance I’m looking for as I get older, especially.”

World No. 8 Jack Sock, who won the Paris Masters beating out both Isner and Querrey for a spot in the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, and Johnson give the United States four Top 50-ranked players. Querrey, the first American man since Andy Roddick in 2009 to reach a Grand Slam semifinal, sees the rise of young Americans Frances Tiafoe, Jared Donaldson and Taylor Fritz as signs of good times to come.

“As far as the state of American tennis on the men’s side we’re probably at an all-time high from eight years with the current group,” Querrey said. “This is kind of the highest all four of us—John (Isner), Jack (Sock), Stevie (Johnson) and myself—have ended the year. So I feel like we’ve got a good group right now. I feel like guys this past year won a lot of big tournaments, won a lot of big matches and so we didn’t have a Grand Slam (singles) winner but guys did a lot of really good things. So I feel like men’s tennis is in a great place right now and it’s only getting better, especially with all the young guys out there.”

The good news for Querrey is the confidence he carries into next month’s Australian Open riding the best back-to-back Grand Slam results of his career. Querrey is just 80 points behind Pablo Carreno Busta for the 10th spot in the rankings and could conceivably crack the Top 10 with a strong run in Australia.

The bad news?

Melbourne has been a major obstacle for the 6-foot-6 Querrey in recent years. He’s failed to survive the second round in six of his last nine Australian Open appearances. And while he’s contested the third round five times—including’ last year’s straight-sets loss to then world No. 1 Andy Murray—Querrey has yet to advance to the Australian Open second week.



Simplicity is how Querrey hopes to press the reset button Down Under.

“I made the (Australian Open) third round there a handful of times,” Querrey said. “This year I’m going in I’m confident coming off a good year and hoping to go further than that. But I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself to try to crack into the Top 10 or go further in the Grand Slam there than I did at Wimbledon or the US Open.

“I try to keep things pretty simple. I feel like when I don’t think about things too much that seems to be when I play my best. So my coach Craig and I kind of always have that mind-set and just try to get better over a 12 month period. Think less out there almost and don’t put any added pressure on yourself.”

 

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