Feb. 27, 2014
With a break in his tournament schedule, current professional tennis player and former Michigan three-time All-American Evan King (2009-2012) returned to Ann Arbor last week. While back in Ann Arbor, MGoBlue.com caught up with King, who owns the most combined singles and doubles wins in program history, to see how his pro career has progressed since graduation and get his early impressions on the 2013-14 Wolverines.
MGoBlue.com: Can you give us an update on your pro career so far and how the transition has gone?
Evan King: Pro tennis has been an adventure for me so far. I got off to a pretty slow start and was having trouble adapting to the grind that of the pro tour. But as the year has progressed, I've begun to embrace my surroundings and I am really starting to enjoy the life that I have chosen. A few months ago, I began to win more and more matches and now I'm starting to see my ranking move in the correct direction. In January, I got some tough draws and lost in the first round of three straight $10,000 events in a row. But I think I learned a lot from each of those losses and in my first tournament in February I got to the quarterfinals of a $100,000 tournament, so that was really encouraging.
MGB: What differences have you noticed during your transition from college tennis to the pro circuit?
EK: Being a professional tennis player is a lot different than playing college or junior tennis. Back then, everything was set up for me. I just had to show up when I was told and took it from there. Now, things are a lot different. A few minutes ago I thought my next tournament would be in Southern California. And now I am looking at flights to Japan. But that is the life of a tennis professional, you never really know what your next move is going to be until the last second.
MGB: What is the usual pro tennis atmosphere like compared to a college dual?
EK: It's a lot different. In college tennis I fed off of the team environment. I loved playing matches at Michigan and having hundreds of people cheering our team on. The only thing that I enjoyed more than home matches were the duals in hostile environments. I always fed off the crowd. At these Future events, there aren't nearly as many people watching my matches, and the people that watch are not as vocal. They usually just cheer for good points.
MGB: I know you follow this season's team closely. What are your early impressions of the squad?
EK: I have been really impressed so far with the team's depth. I was able to watch the guys come away with two huge victories over (No. 30) LSU and (No. 18) Vanderbilt last weekend. Those wins really showed how deep their singles lineup is, and I think all of the doubles teams are playing really well right now.
MGB: Who really stood out to you last weekend?
EK: All the guys played at a high level, but I was really impressed with freshman Kevin Wong in doubles. He plays with my old doubles partner, Shaun Bernstein, and I think they really feed off of each other. It's also great to see Shaun back healthy. He has been battling injuries the last few years. Having him back in the middle of the singles lineup is a huge boost.
MGB: What's next for Evan King after leaving Ann Arbor?
EK: I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I'm planning on going back to Chicago for a little bit to visit my family. I haven't been home in a while, so it will be good to see my parents. After that, I think I'll enter one of the Futures tournaments in California. Right after that, I am strongly considering playing a few tournaments in Asia. I think there are a few tournaments over there that can help improve my world ranking.