With Mullet Gone, J.J. Wolf Totally Focussed On Stefanos Tsitsipas | ATP Tour

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When J.J. Wolf arrived on the Miami Open offered by Itau, he had snicker.

“I FaceTimed a bunch of my buddies who both performed [football] at Ohio State or are taking part in professionally now and was like, ‘Shouldn’t you guys be right here, not me?’” Wolf recalled. “It was sort of humorous they usually all received good kicks out of it.”

Arduous Rock Stadium is the house of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Nevertheless, Wolf, a Cincinnati Bengals fan, would be the centre of consideration on the similar venue on Saturday when he performs third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in primetime.

If this match was performed final 12 months, the very first thing followers would have seen was Wolf’s mullet, which turned arguably essentially the most talked about coiffure on the ATP Tour. However now, the flowing hair is gone and the main target can go on one factor: his tennis.

“I believe having the haircut, I anticipated the questions,” Wolf mentioned. “However I really feel rather a lot higher on court docket with out it now, simply sort of focussing on my tennis. I’m pleased it’s going how it’s.

“I don’t assume it bothered my tennis, however possibly distracted from it a bit of bit. It was undoubtedly a speaking level. It was talked about rather a lot, but it surely’s simply hair.”

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Photograph Credit score: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Wolf performed faculty tennis at Ohio State College from 2017-19 and was named an All-American in 2019. The next 12 months, after turning skilled, he reached the third spherical of the US Open.

Nevertheless it has not all the time been simple for the previous Buckeye. Most just lately, in early 2021, Wolf underwent two hernia surgical procedures, which sidelined him for seven months.

“[There was] a bit of little bit of frustration, however I really feel sort of fortunate that I needed to undergo it to grasp how skilled I’ve to be and the way rather more I may very well be doing,” Wolf mentioned.

Upon his return over the American summer season, he gained a set in opposition to every of Brandon Nakashima, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe, however was unable to complete any of these matches off. Nevertheless, Wolf completed the season sturdy by claiming his fifth ATP Challenger Tour title in Las Vegas and advancing to 2 extra semi-finals. And in 2022, up to now, so good.

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Wolf is at present No. 167 within the ATP Rankings, however has been competing at a better stage than that. The 23-year-old earned three spectacular wins in Acapulco, defeating Andreas Seppi and Kevin Anderson in qualifying earlier than upsetting Lorenzo Sonego in the principle draw. In each Indian Wells and Miami, Wolf certified with out shedding a set after which gained his first spherical in the principle attract straight units. Within the California desert, he faltered within the second spherical.

“I’ve been having a good time, actually making an attempt to deal with my physique. I’ve been very fortunate to really feel fairly wholesome just lately,” Wolf mentioned. “So I’ll lay my physique on the road for all these matches and provides it every part I’ve received.”

Wolf simply performed Tsitsipas in Acapulco, the place the Greek triumphed 6-1, 6-0. Nevertheless, the house favorite mentioned he’s not going to fret about that on Saturday.

“I don’t actually take into consideration who I’m taking part in an excessive amount of,” Wolf mentioned. “I simply attempt to concentrate on my sport. However clearly taking part in within the second spherical of a Masters [1000] match is tremendous enjoyable, so I’m actually excited to see the way it goes.”

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