Junior Star McNally Reflects On Challenger Main Draw Debut
American teen competes this week in home state of Ohio
Top junior star John McNally will soon spend the next four years competing for Ohio State University, but he’s making noise on that campus this week at the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Columbus.
The 17 year old received a wild card into the singles and doubles main draws, marking his first main draw appearances at an ATP Challenger Tour event. Although he lost in the first round of singles to fellow American Tommy Paul, he’s into the doubles quarter-finals with another American teenager in Jeffrey John Wolf, his regular doubles partner in ITF Junior events.
“Playing my first Challenger main draw was really special, especially in Columbus, since I’m from not far away in Cincinnati. It was also great to play it at Ohio State, where I’ll be attending college next fall,” said McNally. “Even though I had a tough first-round [singles match] against a good friend, I’m ready to try and keep going in the doubles.”
McNally is currently No. 15 in the ITF Junior Rankings, having posted a 27-10 record this year and recorded a third-round showing in the boys’ singles draw at Wimbledon. But while he’s used to making deep runs in junior draws, he admitted it may take some time for that to become a regular occurrence in pro events.
“In the juniors, I’ve been lucky enough to win a lot of matches. There are a lot of weeks where you can win three or four matches in the juniors, maybe even win the tournament, but you can sometimes go a month or more without winning a match in the pros,” said McNally.” It’s just about learning to be a little more mentally tough when it comes to the pro side and being able to flow with some of the ups and downs that will come with it.”
However, McNally is more than ready for the challenge. He’s soaked in the experience of playing and practising with ATP Challenger Tour players this week and is confident it will serve him well for upcoming tournaments.
“I got to hit some of the pro players at the US Open and some of the bigger junior events where they also are. Just seeing how seriously they take it and looking at it like it’s a job is definitely cool,” he said. “I’m able to learn a lot from it.”