Brooksby: ‘I Can Compete With Anybody’
American relishes first experience on Arthur Ashe Stadium
#NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby had World No. 1 Novak Djokovic completely rattled for a set and a half on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open on Monday night. After four sets, gallant in defeat, the 20-year-old had more than proved his worth on the big stage and led the top seed to remark: “America has a bright future in tennis.”
Outside the Top 200 in the FedEx ATP Rankings less than four months ago, Brooksby left to a standing ovation with his head held high, confident he had exceeded all expectations on his first run to the second week of a Grand Slam. Despite the disappointment of the 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 fourth-round defeat, he knew he had made the most of every opportunity before a vocal home crowd.
“It's definitely all positive things to take away. I learned my game. I'm feeling really confident in my game. I believe I can compete with anybody,” Brooksby said. “I knew it would be important to start strong, to impose my mindset and my strategy, my game out there. It's definitely special.
“I always enjoy the matches and everything throughout the moment. Obviously you have to stay focused… Atmospheres like that are what you want to be in front of since you were a little kid, watching on TV when you were young, and now you're living it. It is something I really appreciate and I'm grateful to be here now. [I'm] excited to keep [playing] in atmospheres like this for the future.”
Projected to rise to the cusp of the Top 40 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after the US Open, it has been a meteoric ascent. Brooksby only cracked the Top 100 earlier this month after he reached the final in Newport and the semi-finals in Washington, D.C.
The experience of taking it to the world’s best on the biggest Grand Slam stadium is invaluable as he looks to build on his breakout run. There was no rush to depart after his first taste of competition on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I did take time to look around a little bit, just appreciated being in an atmosphere like that with so many people cheering you on. Took a moment to still have it all in after,” he said. “You're not going to win every match you play obviously, but you still have to enjoy it.
“I think [the belief] comes from definitely more training, but most importantly other match situations against other guys and… just the whole process of it. Leading up to it, I 100 per cent believed I could win against anybody. I thought I showed that with the level I could produce out there. Unfortunately, physically it got a little tougher.”