Friday, 22 August 2014

'Dream' scenario for Kylar

Kevin Kylar beat Tony Larson of Minneapolis on Wednesday and will
now have a world ranking somewhere between 1,800th and 2,200th.
(KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

Becomes first Manitoban to earn an ATP point in 25 years

By: Geoff Kirbyson, Winnipeg Free Press

Kevin Kylar can now be found on the same rankings list as Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Sure, he'll probably be a couple of thousand spots below the best players in the world when the new ATP rankings come out in a couple of weeks, but the important thing is he's there.

Kylar, 19, became the first Manitoba tennis player since 1989 to earn an ATP point when he beat Tony Larson of Minneapolis in the first round of the Manshield Futures tournament at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club on Wednesday.

Matthew Akman was the last Manitoban to turn the trick a quarter of a century ago.

Kylar's 2-6, 6-2, 3-0 (retired) win was his first in eight tries in the main draw of a "futures" level of tournament. It will give him one point and a world ranking in the neighbourhood of 1,800 to 2,200.

"It's awesome," he said. "Not too many people can say they've achieved that. It's been a dream of mine since I was little, so it's great."

"You make all these crazy goals when you're 10 and 90 per cent of them don't come through."

Kylar was particularly happy to earn his point in Winnipeg in front of a home crowd.

"Whether I won or lost the point, they were cheering. They were very helpful, very supportive," he said.

Mark Arndt, executive director of Tennis Manitoba, was quick to point out Akman, who was a star junior in Manitoba in the 1980s, had moved out east by the time he earned his ATP point.

"Kevin is the first true Winnipegger," he said.

Arndt will now shift his focus to building on Kylar's success and growing tennis in Manitoba.

"Will this make a kid want to play and be the next guy to get that point? I think it will. We have to capture this momentum and ride the wave. This is big for Manitoba. It will show the kids playing today that if Kevin can do it, they can, too. We won't be waiting 25 years again," he said.

Kylar may be looking up from the bottom of the professional tennis mountain but he has experience with those at the peak. Last March in Indian Wells, Calif., he warmed up Djokovic for 45 minutes prior to his singles final against Federer, which he won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). The victory included a $1-million prize. (Hitting partners, unfortunately, don't get a cut of that kind of money. They work for tips.)

Kylar might not be done compiling ATP points either. He played fourth-seeded Liam Broady from England in his second-round match late Thursday. He lost the first set before the match was suspended due to rain. The match was slated to be completed this morning.