Klahn's Comeback Gathers Momentum In Fairfield
For Bradley Klahn, his comeback to tennis after years of injury has often felt like three steps forward and two-and-a-half steps back – at least until now.
Klahn, a 27-year-old American who in 2014 reached a career-high of No. 63 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is once again making inroads following a career-threatening back injury that derailed much of the progress he had made years ago.
Recent weeks have seen the former Stanford University standout reach back-to-back finals at ATP Challenger Tour events in Monterrey and Fairfield, the latter of which continued amidst the devastating wildfires in the California countryside.
“It’s really tragic what’s happened with the fires. It kind of puts tennis in perspective a lot, just knowing people who are personally affected by the fires here,” said Klahn. “You can see the devastation with the smoke. Hats off to the tournament because I know this has to have been one of the most stressful weeks for them.”
Klahn’s contest versus fellow California native Mackenzie McDonald in the Fairfield Challenger final was a rare bright moment for Northern California tennis fans. The match represented another positive step. Despite losing 6-4, 6-2, he celebrated back-to-back finals for the first time since winning both the Challengers in Maui, U.S.A and West Lakes, Australia in early 2014.
So what finally clicked for Klahn?
“I think the biggest thing is that I’m digging out tough matches. I’m competing well, I’m staying positive with myself and I’m not really letting the ups and downs of the day get to me quite as much as I felt like I did when I first started back.
“This is the first time that I am really trusting [my body] and I’m not worrying about the little aches and pains that come with playing professional tennis,” he added. “For a while there it always felt like something was kind of nagging at me. Now, this is my 11th match in two weeks – counting the doubles – and I feel good. Winning helps.”
With former college rival Peter Lucassen joining Klahn’s team as a coach, the American feels that he’s back on track and is slowly transitioning his comeback into a career once more.
“I think he’s brought a fresh mindset,” said Klahn of Lucassen. “He’s also seen me throughout college – I played against him ... so he knows my game, he knows what we’re working on; we’ve kept it simple.”
Keeping things simple and trusting his body remains essential, according to Klahn, who despite his recent success isn’t getting too far ahead of himself. His efforts over the past fortnight will see him move back into the Top 250, allowing him entry into the more prestigious events on ATP Challenger Tour, with an eye on returning to the ATP World Tour in the near future.
“It’s been a great two weeks but it’s [only] two weeks in a year. It’s a long year, so now I feel like I’ve started to get in that rhythm and I’ve started to trust myself again.”