I like Steve Johnson’s style of play. I am absolutely sure, he is able to reach top 50 in the next 2 years.
Here is my interview with Steve.
When did you decide to play tennis professionally?
I always wanted to play professionally growing up and that was always my dream. When I was about 16 it really hit me that I could do this full time and since then it’s always been my main goal.
Why did you not go on tour after high school?
I always wanted to go to college and get and education as well as play college tennis and become more mature and really get focused on what I wanted to accomplish. College was always the route for me and I really enjoyed my experience.
There is a big discussion about the serve and volley style. Many coaches and players think that it’s outdated. What do you think about that?
Serve and volley can be a little outdated as guys don’t do it religiously anymore but it’s still very important to learn that skill as it is really useful on tour. I love to serve and volley and hopefully put pressure on my opponents return games.
Many tennis academies offer 25 hours of tennis and fitness a week, plus players spend the weekend competing in tournaments. How much did you train when you were a teen?
Growing up my dad was always my coach and I attended regular school and played many other sports competitively. I probably practiced around 10-12 hours a week while competing in tournaments on the weekends.
Tell me about your ordinary day; how much do you train now?
A typical day for me now is tennis from 9-11 in the morning and fitness and mobility and rehab from about 11-12 and some more tennis from 2-3:30 pm and then end the day with one more fitness session from 3:30-5 pm.
I know that you admire Pete Sampras and your playing style resembles his. Do you dream of repeating Sampras’s success?
I always looked up to Pete Sampras and how he was as a pro and would love to try and be on the same level as him one day but he is one of the all time greats with what he was able to accomplish on the tennis court.
How do you prepare for a match on tour? Do you have your own rituals?
The right preparation is a key when playing and traveling and everyone does something different. I have found that you need to know what works for you and stick to it when in the big moments.
You played terrific v Nicolas Almagro at the Australian Open. Did you feel that you could have beaten him?
Playing Almagro was a big step in the right direction for me. I absolutely felt like I could have beaten him and can’t wait for another opportunity to do so.
Do you have your own player development plan? What about your goals for this year?
My goals for this year are to just keep improving and working as hard as I can every day and really give it my all. One big goal for me is to end the year top 100 and just keep moving forward.
What Europeans do better in terms of tennis coaching/training than Americans? What should American tennis learn from Europe?
Now we are doing a great job here in the states with coaching and have a great group of Americans who are all ready to go on and do great things.
Where do you train now and who is your coach now? Does your dad still coach you?
I train at the Home Depot center in Carson, California with David Nainkin and the USTA.
My traditional question: what are your three tips for young tennis players who dream about a professional career in tennis?
The three tips I could give would be to always dream big and continue to work to make it happen. Have fun with the game of tennis. Most importantly always love the game, it will make working towards your dreams that much more exciting.
Thank you for the interview, Steve. I wish you to reach all your goals!