He’s the most improved player in Australian tennis and now Jordan Thompson is dreaming big in the Big Apple.
Inspired by his beloved Wests Tigers and fresh off cracking the world’s top 50 for the first time, Thompson has nominated a charge to the second week of the US Open as next tick on his bucket list.
“I don’t want to come here and just go out first round. They’re all tough matches but I do want to go on a run,” Thompson said before his first-round clash with Joao Sousa on Tuesday.
And seeing the Tigers thump Newcastle to keep their NRL finals hopes alive has the 25-year-old primed for a breakout performance in New York.
“A great win. I watched it on the way to the tennis this morning,” Thompson said.
“I had to turn it off but at halftime it was 30-0. I was stoked so I was like ‘OK, I can get on with practice now’.”
It was in New York three years ago, after he’d blown a two-set lead against journeyman Steve Darcis, that a pep talk from coach Des Tyson sparked Thompson into action.
“He sat me down and said that I owed it to myself to start eating better given how hard I was working on the court and the gym. I had a little bit of a sweet tooth for lollies and desserts,” Thompson said.
“I really took that advice on board; I cut them out and I noticed straight away how much better I felt.”
Three years on, and after winning one match at ATP level in 2018, Thompson credits his improved discipline and fitness levels for his revival.
A favourite of Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, Thompson’s 23 wins in 2019, including his foray to a maiden ATP final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, propelled the Sydneysider to the cusp of the top 40 last month.
“I’ve been playing some good tennis, up around the 50-mark, so I just want to keep pushing forward,” he said.
“I want to try and get top 40, top 30 and the only way to do that is to keep working on my game and trying to keep getting better.
“It’s all the one percenters: getting in the gym, going for runs, working on your forehand, working on your backhand.
“It’s every little thing.”