Hurkacz: 'The Type Of Kid You Want To Date Your Daughter'
Poland's Hubert Hurkacz hopes his peers consider him “thoughtful and kind to others.” If the impression he's made on his coach is any indication, the 22-year-old is off to a positive start with his ATP Tour colleagues.
Craig Boynton started working with Hurkacz in March at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Boynton has been impressed with Hurkacz's work ethic and personality, particularly his willingness to practise for three and a half to four hours without complaint and without checking his phone.
“He's always eager to work, always eager to learn, always wants the next exercise. 'What are we doing next? What's the plan?'” Boynton told ATPTour.com.
The former coach of Americans John Isner, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson glows about Hurkacz, who faces Aussie John Millman on Wednesday for a place in the Australian Open third round, which would match his best showing at a Grand Slam (Wimbledon 2018).
Boynton calls the soft-spoken Hurkacz, who always lets women walk through the door first and holds the door for everyone, “The son you want. You want this type of kid to date your daughter,” said Boynton, a father of three, including two daughters.
“He's got just a wonderful family. His parents are amazing. Younger [sister], who is such an unbelievable ball of energy. He comes from an unbelievable family.”
After matches, Hurkacz makes a point to always stay and sign autographs for every waiting fan.
“He's so thankful for people that ask him for an autograph. After matches, literally the Tour will have to drag him off the court because he wants to sign and reach out and say thank you to every single person that stayed to watch him play. He's just so special that way,” Boynton said.
Boynton has coached on the ATP Tour for more than 20 years and been a sports fan for longer. He has seen generous athletes in the past, including Major League Baseball's Cal Ripken Jr. But he also knows Hurkacz's demeanor and appreciation for others is rare.
“It's not very common, but he's not very common, either,” Boynton said of the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier.
Hurkacz, for his part, doesn't want to be thought of as only a nice guy. He also wants his peers to consider him “fiercely passionate about tennis, competitive.”
“I just love competing and playing tennis, and especially if you can play on the big stages,” Hurkacz said.
The 6'5” right-hander has shown his propensity for the big moments. Last year, he went 5-8 against the Top 10, and to start 2020 at the ATP Cup in Sydney, Hurkacz beat three Top 30 players, including No. 4 Dominic Thiem of Austria for the second time.
“I just want to improve my game, be happy with myself on the court, keeping positive. And then the things can happen when I'm playing, being positive and playing well,” Hurkacz said.
But the nicest guy on Tour wants to find a balance between being competitive and kind. As much as he wants to be known as player who fights until the final ball, there is another label he desperately wants to avoid: “never a sore loser.”
“He's a great tennis player but he's an even better human being,” Boynton said. “He gets it: This is tennis, but people are people and it's life. You do unto others, and he's very good that way.”