NEWS

Michael Russell: Circuit Player of the Week

May 25, 2008 12:40 PM

Birthdate: May 1, 1978
Birthplace: Detroit, Mich.
Residence: Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Height: 5’ 8”
Weight: 160 lbs.
Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand

Michael Russell of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., continues to make great strides in his comeback from a knee injury that hampered him for much of 2003. The 26-year-old has had amazing performances the last three weeks in ITF Circuit competition, winning three consecutive singles titles, most recently at last week’s 2004 Futures of Pittsburgh, where he demolished fellow American Kean Feeder of Portland, Ore., 6-1, 6-0, in the final.

Russell, who was also victorious at Futures events in Buffalo, N.Y., the week of June 29 and Lachine, Quebec, Canada, the week of June 22, posted a come-from-behind, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory in his opening-round match against American qualifier Jeremy Wurtzman.

He was then unstoppable for the remainder of the tournament, dropping only six games total in his next four matches. He now has a 15-match winning streak and has lost only two sets total during that stretch.

A 5’ 8” right-hander, Russell is perhaps best known for his appearance in the 2001 French Open, in which he nearly defeated two-time champion Gustavo Kuerten in a fourth-round thriller. His USTA Pro Circuit career highlights include winning 10 single titles and one doubles championship and reaching two singles and four doubles finals.


RANKING HISTORY
2003 – 502 (ATP)
2002 – 159 (ATP)
2001 – 88 (ATP)
2000 – 156 (ATP)
1999 – 228 (ATP)
1998 – 288 (ATP)
1997 – 346 (ATP)

2004 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Won his second consecutive USTA Futures event in Pittsburgh, defeating Kean Feeder, 6-1, 6-0, in the final.
  • Won the USTA Futures event in Buffalo, N.Y., defeating Jorge Aguilar, 6-3, 6-0, in the final.
  • Captured the singles title at the ITF Futures event in Quebec, Canada.
  • Reached the doubles final (with Robert Lindstedt) at the Ljubljana Challenger in Slovenia.
  • Advanced to the semifinals of the Forest Hills Challenger, before falling to Edgardo Massa, 6-4, 6-1.
  • Qualified into the USTA Challenger in Joplin, Mo., and advanced to the second round before falling to Yeu-Tzuoo Wang.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

2003

  • Was hampered by right knee problems most of the season, playing in only five tournaments through June… Underwent arthroscopic surgery in May and returned one month later at the Braunschweig Challenger in Germany, where he lost in the opening round... Pain persisted, and he was sidelined again.
  • Qualified into the Heilbronn Challenger in Germany and advanced to the second round.
  • In his only ATP appearance, qualified into the main draw at Auckland and advanced to the second round, losing to eventual champion Gustavo Kuerten in three sets.

2002

  • Advanced to the semifinals of the USTA Challenger in Burbank, Calif., where he lost to Robby Ginepri, 6-3, 6-4.
  • Reached his second straight semifinal at the USTA Challenger in Tulsa, Okla… Lost to Daniel Melo, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
  • Reached the doubles semifinals (with Diego Ayala) at the USTA Challenger in Tyler, Texas.
  • Was a semifinalist at the USTA Challenger in Waco, Texas, falling to Jan Hernych, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
  • Qualified into the ATP event in Washington and advanced to the second round, before losing to Thomas Enqvist, 7-6 (13), 6-0.
  • Advanced to the round of 16 at Queen’s Club, where he fell to Wayne Arthurs, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
  • Reached the quarterfinals of the Furth, Germany, Challenger and the Bermuda Challenger.
  • Was a quarterfinalist at the USTA Challenger in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

2001

  • Finished in the top 100 for the first time and improved his year-end ranking for the fifth straight year.
  • Reached the quarterfinals of the USTA Challenger in Tyler, Texas.
  • Advanced to the round of 16 at the Tokyo Outdoor, where he lost to Lleyton Hewitt, 6-1, 6-1.
  • Reached the doubles semifinals (with Justin Gimelstob) at the ATP event in Shanghai.
  • Qualified into Bastad and advanced to the second round before falling to Christophe Rochus.
  • Had a career-best performance in a Grand Slam in his French Open debut, where, as a qualifier, he advanced to the fourth round… Defeated Nicolas Mahut in the first round, Sergio Bruguera in the second and Xavier Malisse in his first career five-set match in the third round, before facing No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten… Led by two sets and held match point at 5-3 in the third set, before losing, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-1… Became the first player to qualify for four different Grand Slam events in succession (2000 Wimbledon, US Open; 2001 Australian Open, Roland Garros).
  • Advanced to consecutive ITF Circuit semifinals in Birmingham, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • As a qualifier, advanced to the semifinals of the Bermuda Challenger.
  • Finished runner-up at the USTA Challenger in Calabasas, Calif., where he fell to Andre Sa in three sets.
  • Won both the singles and doubles (with Robert Kendrick) titles at the USTA Futures event in Mobile, Ala.
  • Qualified into the Australian Open but dropped a four-set, opening-round decision to Andrei Pavel.
  • As a qualifier, reached the second round of the ATP event in Auckland, New Zealand.

2000

  • Reached quarterfinals at the USTA Challengers in Knoxville, Tenn., and Urbana, Ill… Also reached the doubles final (with Noam Behr) in Urbana.
  • Finished runner-up to Andy Roddick at the USTA Challenger in Austin, Texas.
  • Qualified into the US Open but lost in the first round to Hernan Gumy of Argentina, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (1), 6-4.
  • Was named a practice partner for the U.S. vs. Spain Davis Cup by NEC semifinal in Santander, Spain.
  • Qualified for Wimbledon but lost in the first round to Sebastien Lareau.
  • Won the doubles title (with Tommy Robredo) at the Edinburgh, Scotland, Challenger.
  • Won his first ATP match on his 22nd birthday, defeating Hugo Armando, 6-4, 6-2, in the first round of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Orlando, Fla… Lost in the second round to Gianlucca Pozzi.
  • Won the USTA Challenger in Amarillo, Texas, defeating Stefano Pescosolido in the final.
  • Advanced to consecutive semifinals at the USTA Futures events in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and Boca Raton, Fla.

1999

  • Qualified into the Guadalajara Challenger in Mexico and advanced to the quarterfinals.
  • Advanced to the doubles semifinals (with Mark Nielsen) at the Winnetka, Ill., Challenger.
  • Was a semifinalist at the Granby Challenger in Canada.
  • Won USTA Futures events in Vero Beach, Fla., and Weston, Fla… Also reached the doubles final (with Diego Ayala) in Weston.
  • Reached the doubles semifinals (with Andrew Painter) at the USTA Futures event in Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Reached the semifinals of the Tallahassee, Fla., Futures.

1998

  • Made his debut at the US Open as a wild-card entrant, losing in the first round to Giorgio Galimberti.
  • Advanced to the semifinals of the Aptos, Calif., Challenger.
  • Reached the singles and doubles final (with Jan-Ralph Brandt) at the Montreal, Canada, Futures.
  • Finished runner-up in doubles (with Jocelyn Robichaud) at the ITF Futures event in Mississauga, Canada.
  • Was a doubles finalist (with Jocelyn Robichaud) at the USTA Futures event in Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Reached the singles semifinals and the doubles quarterfinals (with Kevin Kim) at the Boca Raton, Fla., Futures.
  • Advanced to the doubles semifinals (with Kevin Kim) and the singles quarterfinals at the USTA Futures event in Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Won the singles title at the USTA Satellite in Mobile, Ala.
  • Qualified for the Canadian Open, but fell to fellow Michigan native Todd Martin in the first round.

1997

  • Won USTA Satellite Circuit events in Waco, Texas, Springfield, Mo., and St. Joseph, Mo.

1995

  • Debuted on the ATP Tour singles rankings at No. 1,282 after finishing in a tie for 24th at the 1995 USTA satellite segment No. 6 in California.

COLLEGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Played one season (1996-97) at the University of Miami... Finished No. 7 in the collegiate rankings -- tops among freshman -- before turning pro in the summer of 1997.
  • Earned All-American honors… His 39 singles match wins were a school record.
  • Became the first freshman since Joey Blake of Arkansas in 1986 to win the Rolex National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, defeating Middle Tennessee State’s Fred Niemeyer, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, in the final.
  • Finished the fall season with a 17-1 match record.

JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS

1996

  • Reached the singles semifinals at the 1996 USTA National Boys’ 18 Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., losing to doubles partner Kevin Kim… Lost in the doubles final (with Kim) to Bob and Mike Bryan.
  • Advanced to the singles final at the 1996 USTA National Boys’ 18 Clay Court Championships, losing to Bob Bryan.
  • Was a doubles quarterfinalist (with Kim) at the 1996 Wimbledon junior championships… Lost in the second round of singles to Bob Bryan in a re-match of the Easter Bowl final.
  • Won the 1996 Easter Bowl boys’ 18 championships, defeating Bob Bryan in the final.
  • Reached the singles semifinals at the 1996 Banana Bowl in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Won the doubles title (with Kim) at the 1996 Asuncion Bowl in Asuncion, Paraguay.
  • Reached the round of 16 at the 1996 Australian Open Junior Championships.

1995

  • Reached the singles semifinals at the 1995 USTA National Boys’ 18 Championships... Defeated Ryan Wolters for third place.
  • Won the singles title at the 1995 USTA National Boys’ 18 Clay Court Championships, defeating Kevin Kim in the final... Reached the doubles final (with Geoff Abrams).
  • Reached the semifinals at the 1995 Easter Bowl boys' 18 championships, losing to Kim.
  • Reached the second round in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles (with Kim) at the 1995 Australian Open Junior Championships.

1994

  • Finished 1994 ranked No. 1 in singles and doubles in the USTA boys' 16 rankings (ranked in doubles with Geoff Abrams).
  • Made his debut in a junior Grand Slam, upsetting No. 6 seed Paul Goldstein in the first round of the 1994 US Open junior boys' singles championships… Lost in the second round.
  • Won the 1994 USTA National Boys' 16 Championships, defeating Kevin Kim in the final... Won the doubles title with Geoff Abrams.
  • Was a finalist at the 1994 USTA National Boys' 16 Clay Court Championships, losing to Kevin Kim.
  • Won the 1994 Easter Bowl Boys' 16s Championships, defeating Kevin Kim in the final.

1993

  • Won the 1993 USTA National Boys' 16 Indoor Doubles Championship (with Kevin Kim).

1991

  • Reached the final of the 1991 USTA National Boys' 14 Indoor Championships… Lost to Rafael Jordan.

PERSONAL

  • Father, George, is manager of the ATP Tennis Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, where Mike practices. He was a member of the University of Michigan's Big 10 Conference 1965 championship team. Mother, Carole, is an English teacher and tennis coach at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Fla. Older brother David, played collegiately at Princeton and attends Harvard Business School.
  • Began playing tennis at age five with his father.
  • Full name is Michael Craig Russell.
  • Graduated as valedictorian at Saddlebrook (Fla.) High School in spring 1995.
  • Favorite playing surface is clay.
  • Nicknames include "Mighty Mouse," "Spanky" and "Iron Mike."
  • Is considered one of the wittiest players on tour.
 

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