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Biofile: Maxime Cressy Q&A

By Scoop Malinowski | Wednesday September 1, 2021

Shortly after Pete Sampras beat archrival Andre Agassi to win the 2002 US Open crown, the five-time US Open champion came to a sad conclusion about the state of the sport.

"It's sad to to see, but it looks like serve-and-volley is going to be extinct," Sampras said.

More: Maxime Cressy Saves 4 Match Points to Shock Carreno Busta

Qualifier Maxime Cressy, who grew up watching the Hall of Famer, is almost single-handedly reviving serve-and-volley in Flushing Meadows—and fans of the form are loving it.

Cressy isn't the most well-known American in the field, but he's sure one of the most exciting to watch.

On Court 4 on Tuesday, Cressy battled back from two sets and four match points down to stun ninth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 4-6, 1-6, 4-6, 7-6(7) in three hours and 35 minutes to reach the second round for the second straight year. Cressy's passion for attack had fans roaring on Court 4.

Playing throwback attacking tennis, Cressy won 64 of 97 net points, including a series of superb reflex volleys to fight off match point in the tie breaker. It was a massive moment for the world No. 151, who became the first American man to knock off a Top-10 seed at the US Open since Jack Sock beat Marin Cilic  in 2016.

All this from a man who scored three qualifying wins to reach the Flushing Meadows main draw.

Empowered by his most inspired win, former UCLA standout Cressy faces hard-hitting Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in what is a winnable match. The winner of the Basilashvili-Cressy match will play either massive-serving Reilly Opelka or talented Italian Lorenzo Musetti for a place in the fourth round.

I caught up with Cressy before the US Open began for this Biofile Q&A.

Status: World No. 151.

Height/Weight: 6-foot-7, 194 pounds.

Born: May 8, 1997 in Paris, France

Residence: Los Angeles, CA

First Tennis Memory: When I played my first competition at my tennis club in Paris. I played my first round there, I played a fellow friend Maxime Janvier. That’s one of my first memories of tennis when I first started at the age of four or five.

Tennis Inspirations: I obviously love Isner, Federer, Djokovic, I watched a lot of Pete Sampras. My brother wanted me to play like him. The top three of today’s generation – Djokovic, Nadal, Federer.

Last Book Read: The Four Agreement.

Current Car: I don’t drive.

Greatest Career Moment: I would say finals of Cleveland (2019), winning the final saving two match points against Torpegaard (67 76 63). Challenger.

Most Painful Moment: I would say first time in Newport (2019) was a painful moment. Because I really thought I could do well, first time on grass. And I think that was my first opportunity in the ATP. And I really wanted to do well. And I really was confident going into the tournament. So it was really painful to lose first round in a close match (67 36 to Ramanathan).

Favorite Sports Outside Tennis: I love volleyball. And soccer. My mom played volleyball.

Favorite Tournament: I’d say Newport is my favorite. I never really truly enjoyed playing a tournament other than Newport. Honestly. I really felt good playing on the grass. This year I beat Querrey and Lorenzi in Newport (lost to Thompson 36 67 in QF).

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: Novak Djokovic. When I was in Monte Carlo I met him. Really fun guy. I was training in Monte Carlo and I saw him, he was training there. And I saw him. He was with his wife and dog. I was eight. I got an autograph. He was like early twenties, taking off on the Tour.

Strangest Match: In a match…I once took off my shirt and match point down and I won the match. My shirt was just so sweaty and I couldn’t serve. I had to change shirts on match point down. And I won the match. That was really weird. (Where?) Futures.

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: Was when I was fourteen, I jumped for a ball and then I broke my wrist. I tried to be like Gael Monfils, jumped for a ball. On a drop shot. And I ended up being injured for the next six months. That was pretty embarrassing [smiles].

Why Do You Love Playing Tennis: I love tennis because I’m really competitive and I’ve played tennis my whole life. And I kept the passion alive throughout my whole life of tennis. I just love my serve and volley game and I love being aggressive. And I’m also very, very competitive. So that’s why I really love playing tournaments.

Funniest Players Encountered: Djokovic and Monfils too. There’s a lot of funny guys out there.

People Qualities Most Admired: Humble attitude and very kind. That’s the two most important qualities for me as an athlete.

Scoop's latest tennis book "Facing Guillermo Vilas" is available at amazon for $9.99. He's currently working on Facing Bjorn Borg, Facing Novak Djokovic and Facing Monica Seles.

Photo credit: Kathryn Riley/USTA/US Open