Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Players to Watch in 2012: Benjamin Mitchell (’92)

This young Aussie is a former junior Wimbledon runner-up who’s been flying under the radar mainly due to playing most of his tournaments at home. Mitchell reached an ITF career high of 20 in 2010 despite not having an extensive juniors career. His run to the grass mecca final wasn’t a fluke, as he defeated some of his generations best prospects like Krawietz (GER), Golding (GBR), Fernandes (BRA) and Dzumhur (BIH). 2011 was his first full year as a professional and, for lack of a better metaphor, he lit the futures tour.

Mitchell had a 50-15 record, winning 4 futures titles and losing in the final of another 5. 9 finals in all, including ones in Great Britain and Spain, usual hotbeds of talent that make for tougher draws. 

Mitchell played some challengers too, with modest yet promising results. It is clear that the futures tour is beneath him and it may be the case that the people coaching him are trying to let him ease into the harder competition. Mitchell jumped from 710 to 214 to close 2011. His ranking allows him to get into nearly all challengers, meaning that he should be able to prove himself against better competition from the beginning.

It’s hard to tell whether Mitchell’s rise is due to talent/effort or just simply playing the same Aussie players that have been stuck at the futures level for years. Because of his impressive Wimbledon run in the juniors and the fact that he destroyed the competition, I’m going to assume that it is the former. I am not sure that Mitchell will be an ATP player by season’s end, but my guess is that he will win his first challenger tournament, get his first taste of ATP and crack the top 150 by this time next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment