Little-known Brisbane teenager Oliver Anderson has qualified for his first ever ATP World Tour main draw with a huge upset over American Tim Smyczek on Sunday.
Anderson, 17, recovered after losing the first set to win 6-7 (7-3) 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 and sweep aside Smyczek, a one-time junior Wimbledon semi-finalist who is ranked No.109 in the world to the Australian’s No.813.
Smyczek is best known for an act of good sportsmanship at last year’s Australian Open, when he won a swag of admirers for allowing Rafael Nadal to replay a serve when a spectator yelled out during his ball toss.
The win could see Anderson face off against fellow Australian Ben Mitchell, Frenchman Lucas Pouille or another qualifier in the first round at the Brisbane International.
Anderson had some raucous support behind him on Show Court 2 at the Queensland Tennis Centre with friends and family on hand to cheer on the biggest win of his career so far – the best crowd he said he’s ever played in front of.
But Anderson said he’ll have no trouble coming off the high when he returns to action on Monday.
“I’ve already started thinking about it. I’m pretty focused on what I need to do tomorrow,” said Anderson, who was used as a fill-in player at the 2014 Hopman Cup where he paired with Italian star Flavia Pennetta for an exhibition mixed doubles match.
Not that he was expecting to do much in his hometown tournament, admitting he was “scared” in the lead-up to qualifiers.
“Enjoy it while it lasts,” Anderson said when asked what his mindset was like in preparation.
“I didn’t have my hopes up too high. I’m surprised with how I went.”
But he said he could already feel the improvement in his game after a change of coach just two weeks ago, from Mark Draper to former Davis Cup player Wayne Arthurs, who has moved to Brisbane.
“We’ve been doing well together so far. He’s helped a lot with my serve … because he had a pretty good one,” Anderson said.