College Star Blumberg Thriving In Challenger Debut
Teenager advances to quarter-finals in Binghamton
William Blumberg may have the coolest summer job out of all his friends at the University of North Carolina.
The rising sophomore is taking his first steps in pro events and has already enjoyed success on the ATP Challenger Tour. In just his fourth pro tournament and his first Challenger, Blumberg is through to the quarter-finals of the $75,000 event in Binghamton. The 19 year old made full use of his main draw wild card by defeating sixth seed Denis Kudla in straight sets on Wednesday to reach the last eight.
“It means a lot. I’ve been practising hard and playing really good this summer, so it’s nice to see all the hard work paying off,” said Blumberg. “A lot of the guys playing here are people I grew up playing with and are some of my best friends, so it’s nice to be around them as well.”
Blumberg completed his freshman year at UNC by reaching the finals of the NCAA Championships (l. Kwiatkowski), finishing the year with a 31-3 record in singles and holding a 24-match win streak at one stage. The Connecticut native was fittingly named the 2017 ITA National Rookie of the Year.
But after just a few weeks on the road with the pros, he’s already picked up on some of the main differences between top college players and those at the Challenger level.
“Everyone is talented from a certain level up, but the big thing I’ve noticed is how strong these guys are mentally,” said Blumberg. “Everyone is very professional, especially the top players here. You see them warming up 30 minutes before they practice, eating a very specific way. They don’t waste too much time because this is their job. It’s a little bit different at the college level because some of the players there may have different intentions, which is natural."
Blumberg is aiming to continue building on his success this summer by playing more Challenger tournaments in the fall. But for now, he’s motivated knowing that his game already stacks up against some of the world’s most elite players.
“A lot of this is mental,” he said. “A lot of these guys are talented and ranked really high, so it’s a matter of believing in yourself and believing you can win these matches.”