By John Delong
(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of updates on players who have committed to play in this year’s Winston-Salem Open.)
The summer hard-court season is upon us, and that’s always good news for Sam Querrey.
The 25-year-old Californian seems to play his best tennis at this time of year, as was evidenced by his US Open Series title in 2009 and the fact that five of his seven career ATP World Tour titles have come on hard courts. He finished third in the US Open Series last year, and could have claimed it again by winning the Winston-Salem Open.
"This is my favorite time of year, no question," Querrey told WinstonSalemOpen.com
recently. "I like being back in the United States, and hard courts are my favorite surface, so it’s a time of year when I usually have my biggest success."
The big news about Querrey is that he has regained his claim as the top-ranked American player in the latest ATP World Tour rankings at No. 19. He overtook defending WSO champion John Isner earlier in the year, then watched his good friend Isner climb back ahead briefly, and now he’s back on top again with Isner falling to No. 21.
"It’s been exciting being the top-ranked American," Querrey said. "Everyone wants to hit that peak at some point of their career and I’m glad that I got to accomplish it. But the real goal is the world ranking, not just the U.S. ranking. I still want to work my way up in the ATP rankings."
Querrey needs a bit of a jump-start after a less-than-successful grass court season. He won only one match in his three grass-court tournaments, falling in the first round at both Wimbledon and Newport.
Fortunately, he had more success early in the year, reaching the third round at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros, and making the round of 16 at both Indian Wells and Miami. He also reached the semifinals in Auckland and San Jose.
"So far the year’s been solid," Querrey said. "Not great, not bad. The first three or four months were solid. Went to the third round in Australia, round of 16 in a couple of Masters series, third round of the French Open which was fun.
"The grass-court season was a little tough for me, but I’m working hard and I’m coming into my favorite time of the year now, so hopefully this is the time to put my foot down and make it a great year."
Querrey will be making his second appearance in the Winston-Salem Open. He missed the inaugural tournament in 2011 as he mended from elbow surgery, but advanced to the semifinals in his first appearance last year. He beat Santiago Giraldo, Feliciano Lopez and Alexandr Dolgopolov in consecutive days before falling to Tomas Berdych in the semis.