Photo: Corinne DubreuilStefan Kozlov (USA)
Stefan Kozlov’s reputation has rocketed in recent months after his successes on the ITF Junior Circuit, finishing a runner-up in the 2013 Orange Bowl final and at the 2014 Australian Open Junior Championships at the age of 15. In his final blog for ITF Juniors, Kozlov reflects on his 2013 ATP debut and talks online schooling, as well as his goals for the year.
I definitely want to win a Junior Grand Slam this year, that’s one of my priorities. I’ll just be playing at the slams at junior level this season as I want to step up to the Futures level, and maybe the Challengers, but I’m not really aiming for the top right now.
Winning some Futures events would be a pretty good achievement - it’s a tough level, similar to the juniors, but tougher. In the juniors, you get a lot more free points and the matches are not as physical, but in the Futures every match is a battle – you’ve got to grind and you’ve got to fight for every win.
When I’m not training or focussed on tournaments I do online schooling. I’ve been doing it for the past three years. When I’m practicing at home and not at a tournament I’ll do online schooling every day, but when I’m at tournaments I don’t like to do any school. I just like to relax when I’m not on the court.
I’m happy with life like that and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on what friends are doing by going to school. I’m enjoying life too - I’m travelling around the world and playing tournaments, seeing different places. I like it much more [than the alternative] to be honest!
I like most of the places I go with tennis. I always enjoy going to the cities where the Grand Slams are and I look forward to those every year. My favourite slam? That’s tough. I like every single one of them.
Last July I made my ATP main draw debut as a wild card at Newport [against current world No. 74 Michal Przysiezny]. It was a lot of fun. The Newport grass didn’t make it feel like I was playing someone very, very good because of how bad the bounces were.
They were so bad that there were a lot of free points, so I kind of felt like I was just playing against another junior. Obviously nothing against him! He’s a very good player – but the grass courts just make people play bad. I thought I was pretty level and lost a tight match 63 67(9) 64. I played tremendous in the match – and I almost had it.
Stefan Kozlov was speaking to ITF Juniors, who put together this blog on his behalf.
Read Stefan’s first and second blogs for ITF Juniors below.