A semi-finalist at Emilia-Romagna Open in May, Paul made the last 16 at BNP Paribas Open with a win Andrey Rublev. Undefeated in Stockholm, the 24-year-old American rose to have a chance in her first final, overtaking the defending champion Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
ATPTour.com sat down with World No 52 shortly after he won his first title in Stockholm to learn more about the significance of this important achievement to Paul.
What does winning your first ATP Tour title mean to you?
Everything. I worked very, very hard. The first one obviously makes the most sense and I’ll miss this one the most but hopefully I’ll have many more. It just motivates me to try to go out and try to get more out of it now.
You beat Leo Borg, Taylor Fritz, Andy Murray and Frances Tiafoe This week, it’s often said that you’re “playing some of your best tennis”. What’s important or different this week?
I played very good games. I think it’s because I’ve had a lot of matches in a row over the past seven weeks, gained confidence every week, and the vibes in Stockholm are great too. I just had so much fun on the field, so much fun.
Of all the things you’ve accomplished this year – breaking the Top 50, winning your first Top 5 and now your first ATP Tour title – what will motivate you to try harder this season? 2022?
I think, to be honest, I don’t need too much motivation. I’m a very active guy, even if I’m, like, the quiet motivator. I know my goals and I’m quite excited to accomplish them and hope to continue achieving them.
Can you talk about the influence of Brad Stine, who you’ve known since the age of 14-15, and your team in general?
In particular, Brad has been a huge influence. He’s been telling me these things for two, maybe three years, about being more aggressive and getting in the net, but I think I’ve really started to take it and put it into the game in the last four months, and it is huge. I have been playing a lot better and I will continue to play like that and should probably listen to him a little more. And my team in general, I just have good people around me, I think that’s very important for any player and any team. The good people around push me in the right direction and a lot of people at home, a lot of people who aren’t even in tennis, they support and encourage me. It’s good to have a good team around you.
After a few significant injuries in the past, what sacrifices have you made while taking a break to help you perform better as a tennis player?
That is a good question. There are countless answers to this. Every day you have a million decisions that you have to make, and I think the best thing I’ve done this year is before I make any, I ask myself if this is the best fit for me. my tennis or not. And that’s what I’ve been doing. So, in a way, you could call it a sacrifice.
At the age of 24, do you feel you are entering the peak years of your career?
I hope not, man. I expect my peak years to be around 29, 30, 31, 32, 33… [laughing]. I feel like I’m starting to understand my game better and execute my gameplay better and I hope I have a lasting peak, you know? A long peak career.
On your ATPTour.com bio it says, “The short-term goals are to improve your on-grid match and win your first ATP Tour title.” What is your next goal?
My first ATP title is definitely my number one goal this year, and I actually got it at the last tournament of the year, just as late as you can get it. I’m happy with that, but I want to win more. I want to win more. And it’s a lot more fun when you win matches than when you lose matches. I definitely want to do that. My next goal is to win bigger titles. Win an extra 250 seconds, 500 seconds. I just want to play big games with my friends deep in the tournaments.
Could you take a moment to acknowledge some of the key figures in your tennis life and career who helped you reach this milestone?
Well, there are a lot of people. My mother. Brad, obviously. Diego Moyano, he was my coach for the longest time, taught me what it’s like to be a pro – I didn’t really hear it very well, but he said it to me. My friend TJ Pura got me out of some dark times in my life and has a lot of friends around me, always supporting me. Even other Americans, Frances [Tiafoe], [Taylor] Fritz, Reilly [Opelka], they are all very supportive and always try to help me when they can. It’s endless, full of people, my coach and everything.
What do you consider your greatest passion outside of tennis and can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m just a total sports fan. I love sports. When I say “all,” I don’t like football, I don’t like baseball – I love watching baseball play the playoffs. But basketball, I will play basketball every day, I will watch basketball every day. I love being outside, love to watch football, college basketball, any sport, man, I love it.
This is a pivotal moment in your career. How will you celebrate this victory?
I don’t know, man, that’s a tough question. After being in Stockholm, I was ready to go home. Obviously I’m happy to be here and win my first title here, but I’m ready to go home. I’ve been away from home for a long time and I’ll be taking a little vacation when I return, so relax and do it.
https://www.atptour.com/en/news/tommy-paul-first-time-winner-spotlight-stockholm | First time winner in focus: Tommy Paul | ATP Tour