Just six days ago, American teenager Jenson Brooksby made his Grand Slam main-draw debut on Court 6 against John Millman.
And while Millman spent Monday preparing for the biggest match of his life against five-time US Open champion Roger Federer, 17-year-old Brooksby was back on the court preparing for a title run of his own.
Brooksby, who earned a main-draw wild card by winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship in Kalamazoo, Mich., last month, won the opening-round match of his US Open juniors campaign, a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Valentin Royer.
“It’s amazing coming to the US Open [after] playing Futures and other tournaments like that, it’s so much different,” said Brooksby, who made a verbal commitment to attend Texas Christian University in 2019. “It’s as good as it gets.”
After dropping a close first set to Royer, Brooksby bounced back with early breaks in both the second and third to help steady the ship and get his tournament back on track.
“The first set I had a slow start, got broken in the second game,” the Carmichael, Calif., native said. “I knew I could break back. Even though I got broken, I was still confident that I could play better and be able to break and return better, which I was able to do. I was confident I could change it.
“That [break in the third set] was huge. I was able to be a bit looser in my serve game as a result. If he keeps holding serve it could be five-all or something, it could be tighter, but breaking in the first game was huge to keep the momentum that I had from the second set.”
Cheered on by mother, who was also here for his main-draw match, and father, who arrived in New York a couple days ago, Brooksby seemed content to fight through the stifling heat, even as Royer started to wilt later in the match. It’s part of the mentality that Brooksby said was reinforced against Millman last week.
“Experience and physicality are the biggest two things,” said Brooksby, who arrived early last week to soak in the experience and to get a chance to check out everything from the training facilities and fitness rooms to the crowds and the food. “Every point, there’s no breaks, you have to play a good point, every point.
“I felt like my technique was good, I feel my technique can be at the highest level. The physicality is the biggest thing I can work on. I know what it’s like to train at the highest level and I feel like i can really improve and get better.”