Tennis Express Interview: Tennys Sandgren
Tuesday was an unfortunate day at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, TX. Nonstop April showers kept the players off the courts all day. Tennys Sandgren, a 25-year-old from Tennessee, was scheduled to play Ernesto Escobedo at around 8 that evening, but play was postponed so Tennys decided to sit and chat with us. He’s ranked 157 in the world, and this was his main draw on the ATP World Tour.
Tennys Sandgren has an interesting and scrappy style of play that has netted him quite a few wins this season. To match his energetic and unique playstyle, he wears Athletic DNA on the court. This cool clothing brand is doing a contest and if you win, Tennys and thousands of others might wear your shirt on the court!
TE: You’re supposed to be here playing in the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships at River Oaks Country Club, but it’s not happening so far today. It’s a little stormy.
Tennys: It’s not happening. Well, maybe. We’ll see.
TE: For now we want to get to know a couple things about you, a couple of things about your game, and just some things that your fans can relate to. Let’s start with a fun creative question. If you could invent any court surface, what material would you make it out of?
Tennys: Something really soft so that my body thanks me in the morning after a tough match. Anything to help pad the joints, knees, hips would be fantastic. It’d be like a pillow but you’d still be able to play on it somehow. A little bit of bounce, something to maybe help the serve get a little higher.
TE: You’re at the highest ranking of your career right now, congratulations. With that in mind what are your goals for this year?
Tennys: I would love to make the top 100 at some point this year. I think it’s within reach. I’ve been playing pretty well so far, so I think that’s definitely attainable, and we’ll go from there.
TE: So if you’re going to be jumping along the ladder as far as ranking and numbers I assume you’ll be hitting some pretty good opponents. If you could play anybody in the world who would you want to beat?
Tennys: Who would I want to beat? I would love to play Roger. He’s been playing unbelievable this year and it would be fun to go against him at least for maybe 20 to 30 minutes. Then we [would] take a look at the score lines and see if I wanna keep going or not. I’ll be like “OKAY, this is good!” but I think that would be obviously a really special experience to have. Definitely, Roger.
TE: What sort of play benefits you as a player the most? An hour of practice or an hour of match play?
Tennys: That’s tough. I think practice is really important. Obviously, you need to have matches under your belt to feel like you’ve been playing matches recently, but that can only get you so far. I feel like your skills need to keep getting sharper, keep getting better. To do that you need to spend those hours practicing – getting in the reps and getting in the court time doing specific stuff so that you can keep improving.
TE: What sort of guidance that you learned in your youth, maybe from a coach or a mentor, do you still use today?
Tennys: My mom was actually my coach growing up and so I still can hear her voice in my head. I remember a lot of it, mom. She was a big influence on me, obviously. And still [is]! Different stuff like “always try hard, always try hard,” was one of her biggest things she always tried to instill in me. Maybe when I was younger – sometimes when I’d get frustrated my outlook would be to stop trying a little bit. So she would always try too instill in me to keep my effort to be 100%. That’s something that I still try to do today. Til the last point. You can win if you make sure you don’t lose the last point. So, if you keep that in mind you can fight back from a lot of not so good looking holes.
TE: You played college ball for two years. What made those two years worth it?
Tennys: Playing on a team was an extremely gratifying thing. Tennis is obviously a very individual and lonely sport; you’re out there by yourself. But with five other guys on the court with you, and your team, and your coaches, and everybody that’s with the program, [it] obviously was a very cool experience to have. To have a big fan base and a lot of people supporting you during those matches was a very cool experience. My brother was actually on the team. My first year was his senior year. We almost won. We lost in the finals of NCAA’s but we had a really good season, and to have that with him was special.
TE: Less about tennis and more about Tennys. Let’s find out what your fans want to know! What’s your favorite candy?
Tennys: My favorite candy? Snickers. I would say Snickers even though it’s a candy bar. It’s not a candy-candy. I like snickers because you can convince yourself it’s like a PowerBar. “Maybe this isn’t as bad for me as I think it is.” There are peanuts in there. There’s some other stuff that makes you think, “Maybe this isn’t quite so bad.”
TE: We understand you could probably wreck it in some Wii Tennis, but other than that what computer or video games are you a fan of?
Tennys: I play quite a bit of video games. I’ve been playing a lot of League of Legends and Hearthstone. It’s fun. It’s a good outlet – something to do on the downtime while it’s raining all day. It’s definitely entertaining.
TE: Well from playing one thing to the next. If you could join the Bryan Brothers band, what instrument would you play?
Tennys: Oh my gosh. That would be a dream come true if I could play an instrument. I can’t, unfortunately. Drums would be a lot of fun. Be a good outlet for some frustration – bangin the drums.
TE: What was your favorite cartoon to watch as a kid?
Tennys: I’d say SpongeBob. It still has some high-brow humor that I feel like any younger adult can get behind, even today. So SpongeBob definitely stayed with me.
TE: What is the hottest thing that you’re listening to right now?
Tennys: I’ve been listening to a lot of Godsmack, lately. A lot of Godsmack. Like early 2000s rock. Got a good beat and I think I’ve been playing that on repeat for the last couple of days.
TE: Are you the type that practices with music?
Tennys: Don’t practice to music. It’s a little too hard to focus. But definitely for working out, down time, and trips to the hotel and back.
The U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships resumed on Wednesday. Ernesto Escobedo defeated Tennys Sandgren 6-3 6-3, but Sandgren still achieved a huge milestone this week by qualifying for his first ATP main draw. With the help of Athletic DNA, whose fashions give him confidence and energy on the court, he is poised to reach many more personal bests this year and beyond.
Don’t forget to check out the Shirt Designer of the Year Contest where you could win FREE clothes for LIFE! On top of that, you will win gift cards from Tennis Express and have your design be created by the geniuses at Athletic DNA? What are you waiting for? Go there now!