In hindsight, it wasn’t so surprising that Sam Querrey, who enjoyed a nice clay-court run-up to Roland Garros with a final in Houston and a title in Belgrade, lost to fellow American Robby Ginepri in the first round at Roland Garros 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-2. Despite his recent struggles and a precipitous drop in the rankings (he’s just inside the top 100 at No. 98), Ginepri is a capable clay-courter, having reached the fourth round in Paris two years ago.
Not a bad result. For an American anyway.
What was surprising was the 22-year-old’s admission that he wasn’t just battling Ginepri on the court: he was also facing another opponent — himself.
“Not into it. Mentally not there,” said Querrey, clearly out of sorts. “Just didn’t enjoy myself out there. It’s been like that on and off for a while. So I’m going home tomorrow.”
Going home? When a reporter reminded the 6-foot-6 Querrey that he’s in the doubles draw with partner John Isner, the usually laid back Southern Californian replied, “I am right now. I won’t be in about an hour.”
“Just want to get out of here?”
Querrey, who totaled 37 errors and five double faults against Ginepri, said that when he dropped the second-set tiebreaker and was subsequently broken in the first game of the third set, he cashed it in.
“I wanted to be off the court,” he confessed. “I started thinking about leaving and pulling out of the doubles and how much I wanted to go home, how much I wasn’t enjoying it. You’re never going to win a match if you’re just being negative. I’m only hurting myself…I don’t know what it is. I just need to be in a better mood or to enjoy the competition and being out there more than I do. Right now, I’ll enjoy it, and as soon as one thing goes wrong, I’m done.”
“You’re out there facing one opponent. I don’t want to face the opponent and myself,” he added. “I just need to mentally get it together in my head. I need to enjoy myself out there. I need to enjoy playing. If a guy has a break point against me, I should know, ‘Hey, I’ve got one of the biggest serves out there. Let’s see you win this point off me.’ But, like I said, I just tank some points.”
The No. 22-ranked Querrey is scheduled to play the Queen’s Club Wimbledon warmup next, but on Tuesday, it was hard to say whether he would be there or not.
“He’s been over here a long time,” said Ginperi of Querrey, who has been in Europe since late April. “I hope that he’ll learn from this and realize that, obviously, this is one of the biggest tournaments. The four Grand Slams are definitely the ones that you need to be the freshest for with it being three-out-of-five. But he’s got a great coach in David Nainkin, and I’m sure they’ll sit down and reassess things. I don’t think he’ll make the same mistake again moving on in his career.”
Sounds like a European vacation gone bad.
“Just speaking from experience, just being in Europe for more than three, four weeks, it kind of gets at you mentally,” said Ginepri.