This will be the first in a series of glimpses of the careers of various players, anyone from the complete obscure to the greatest players of all time. There will likely be no rhyme or reason to the players I choose to feature, except my own curiosity, the results of which I will share with you! Enjoy.
“Disco Tommy”: The Other Other Spaniard
We all talk about Tommy Haas’s remarkable play at the age of 35 and David Ferrer peaking in his early 30s, but a third older player who is having a bit of a career resurgence is Tommy Robredo, who at 31 years old is currently #29 – the highest he’s been ranked since 2010. In fact, he’s probably having his best season since 2009, when he finished #16.
Tommy Robredo, named after the rock opera by the The Who, is a member of “Generation Federer.” I consider a tennis generation to be roughly five years, and if we look at players within two and half years or so of Federer’s age, that would be players born from 1979-1983, or those players turning 30-34 this year. After Juan Carlos Ferrero and David Ferrer, Robredo is–along with Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez–one of the five or so best Spanish players of Generation Federer (Carlos Moya, born in 1976, is of the prior generation, and Nicolas Almagro, born in 1985, and Rafael Nadal, born in 1986, are of the later generation.)
Robredo became a ranked player in 1999, with his first ATP tour event, and finished that year at #249, but didn’t truly get under way until 2001, when he made it to the 4R at both Roland Garros and the US Open, finishing the season #30 at the tender age of 19. Yet Robredo didn’t catapult up the rankings; he finished the following year at #30 as well, 2003 at #21, 2004 at #13, and then 2005 at #19. Robredo had his best span in 2006-07, finishing #7 and #10 respectively, including an ATP 1000 win at Hamburg in 2006, and two QF Slams appearances in 2007. On August 28 of 2006 he reached his highest career ranking of #5.
Since 2007, Robredo’s decline has been steady: he finished 2008 at #21, 2009 at #16, and then plummeted in 2010 (#50) and 2011 (#51). His worst span was between mid-2011, when he missed the French Open, through about half of 2012, in which he played only one Slam, losing in the 2R at the US Open. In 2013 he went out in the 1R of the Australian Open but then won his first ATP tournament since 2011 in April in Morocco (ATP 250), defeating Kevin Anderson. At Roland Garros, he had his best Slam result since 2009, including a five-set win over Nicolas Almagro in the 4R, but then lost in straights to David Ferrer in the QF. He had a decent Wimbledon, going out in the 3R. As of this writing he is competing in the ATP 500 tournament in Hamburg, and is ranked #29 with a chance to rise further depending upon how he does.
Robredo’s one of those players that has had a nice, understated career – what I’d call a “third tier” player – not an elite player (first tier), not a near-elite challenger (second tier), but among those players who tend to play deep into the first week of Slams, occasionally peaking into the second week, and might win one or two upper level and a handful of lower level ATP tournaments. He’s never made it past the QF at a Slam, but he’s made it that far six times – five at the French Open – and the 4R 13 times. He’s been part of a winning Spanish team at the Davis Cup three times.
At the other ATP tournaments, he’s won one ATP 1000 tournament – Hamburg in 2006, defeating Radek Stepanek (when Hamburg was still in the 1000 series), made it to four SF at ATP 1000s, and quite a few QF. He’s lost in the finals of three ATP 500s, and gone 8-5 in the finals of ATP 250 tournaments.
He’s beaten 18 top 10 opponents but has never beaten one of the Big Four during their prime, overall going 0-10 vs. Roger Federer, 0-6 vs. Rafael Nadal, 1-5 vs. Novak Djokovic, and 2-3 vs. Andy Murray — those three wins against Djokovic and Murray coming before they were in the top 10.
Robredo’s results were mixed against other #1 players, going 0-11 vs. Andy Roddick, 2-3 vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero, 1-1 vs. Lleyton Hewitt, 6-4 vs. Marat Safin, 4-1 vs. Gustavo Kuerten, and 0-2 vs. Andre Agassi.
Let’s hope that “Disco Tommy” (a nickname for his formerly long hair) can continue to play well.
Data culled from Wikipedia.org, ATPworldtour.com, and live-tennis.eu