I confess I only watched him in the PAC-12 tournament and the NCAAs. So maybe those March impressions (Divencenzo, Wagner, etc.) do get over blown.

However, I think his intangibles might be the thing that pushes him above a lot of other talented players who lack motivation:

  1. His parents come from Nigeria and Jamaica, so he’s really a foreign player, with a completely different world view and set of motivations than Americans.
  2. He started out as a soccer player. In my experience, great tennis players develop through cross sport training at a young age. I think Ayton’s footwork is a testament to that.
  3. He plays the tuba!! Anyone who plays a musical instrument well develops a sense of timing that can be transferred to sports. As someone in the bass section, he was playing contrapuntal rhythms under the melody, which may explain why he always seems a half step slow:)
  4. He went to band practice and was probably dissed a lot as a kid, but has that big man mentality where he knows he can’t retaliate because of his size and strength. So I totally discount the TFN comment. It shows humility and a sense of humor, but also a memory for past slights.

I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people with his drive to be great.

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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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