'I'm pumped to get started!'
May 18, 2016
Bjorn Fratangelo, one of the country's top young players, turned pro in 2012 and since then has won 10 USTA Pro Circuit and ITF-level singles titles. As a junior, the 22-year-old Pittsburgh native reached No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings and became the first American since John McEnroe in 1977 to win the French Open boys’ singles title. Fratangelo, who is named after tennis legend Bjorn Borg, returns to Paris to compete in the main draw at Roland Garros for the first time after recently winning the USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge. In his blog below, he writes about how it feels to return to the French Open five years after winning the boys' title, his preparation for the tournament and much more.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Hey everyone. Bjorn here. I am writing to you all from Paris, getting ready for my main-draw debut. ADVERTISEMENT I had a great week at the Bordeaux Challenger, making the final, so I'm ready to take that momentum and confidence into Roland Garros.
To be back here as a main-draw player feels amazing. Since winning the junior tournament in 2011, I've wanted to be back every single year. It quickly became one of my favorite tournaments because of the breakout I had five years ago. It really got my name out there on an international level, shot me to No. 2 in the world in the ITF junior rankings and really got the ball rolling, as far as turning pro was concerned.
No one, even me, expected me to win the tournament, so to start dealing with instant pressure of higher expectations was tough. I was never thought of as a superstar junior standout, and to suddenly be in the spotlight ... I didn't quite enjoy it. Maybe that had something to do with my long, drawn-out decision to turn pro and the slower transition I had moving up the rankings. Anyways, live and learn, right?
But here I am, back again with a WC into the main draw. It's truly a dream. I'm really glad to have won the WC race. I really believe that I can do well. Since Indian Wells, I feel that I've grown as a player and have become way more self confident, which is something I definitely needed. I think it's a big reason why I've been doing better from my slower start to this season.
I've arrived with enough match play, and I'm now in Paris very early to prepare and get familiar with the courts and my surroundings. At a Grand Slam, I feel it's very important to get settled in because there are so many people and everything can get kind of crazy. I like to get into my routines because it keeps me relaxed and calm throughout the tournament. Needless to say, I'm pumped to get started!
Thanks for the support over the past few months!