Tommy Paul is having a run to remember at the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, where he is into his first ATP Tour semi-final of the year. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the No. 55-ranked American in Italy – especially when laundry has been involved.
In the latest installment of our popular series, Paul reveals the last time…
I met a childhood idol?
Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick were my childhood idols in tennis. I got to do a practice week with both of them. I did one practice week in Las Vegas with Agassi and a practice week in Austin, Texas with Roddick. That was really amazing for me.
I strung a tennis racquet?
Oh man, I had to have been 15 or 16. Actually, when I was really young I used to string all my racquets. But once I turned 14 or 15, I completely stopped doing that. Could I string my racquet now? Yeah, I think so.
I made my debut at a Tour event?
This week. I’ve never been to Parma, but I actually really like it here. It’s really cool vibes, kind of like a farm town in a way but with a lot of cool restaurants in the city. I’m really enjoying it here so far.
Visited a new city for the first time for non-tennis reasons?
I went to Cabo [San Lucas, Mexico] a while back for a vacation. I don’t travel too much unless it’s for tennis, but that was probably the last new city I visited. I usually go home every time, but that’s not a new city. I like the beach and tropical vibes, so anywhere with a beach is where I go if it’s not tennis-related.
Shared a hotel room with another player?
It’s been a while… I’ve shared so many rooms, but it’s got to be at least two years now. Me and Reilly [Opelka] or me and [Taylor] Fritz or me and [Alex] Rybakov, we would always share rooms at every tournament that we went to [as juniors], but it’s been a while.
Usually it’s just a lot of fun. We always have a good time. One time with Rybakov – this was actually in Italy – we were staying at a little bed and breakfast. I remember we were washing our clothes and we put our clothes out to dry on the balcony. But overnight, the wind blew them all off the balcony and when we woke up in the morning our clothes were all over the street! We had to go out and pick them up.
Being famous helped me?
I never really drop my name anywhere, and I don’t think it would really help too much. Maybe just for getting into restaurants. It helps a little bit in Europe, for example, if you say you’re with the tennis tournament in that city. That can get you a reservation a little easier. In the States? Not so much… that doesn’t get you too far.
I achieved a personal or professional goal?
Last year, I had my goal of reaching the Top 50. I think I only got to No. 54 [last year], but I came close. I had a pretty good year and I was happy with it.
I paid money to rent a court or buy tennis balls?
I think back during the off-season. I paid to practise at Delray Beach Tennis Center, actually where the Delray Beach Open is. I’ve definitely rented a court there a few times.
I cooked for myself or others?
I probably cooked breakfast a couple of months ago, but I don’t cook much at all. I’m pretty much eating out for every single meal. [Last year] during [COVID-19] lockdown, we tried a little bit. I think we got some pre-made meals that you heat up – that was our ‘cooking’. I will do breakfast, but other than that I’m not too skilled in the kitchen.
Watched a new TV series?
I’ve started many series since, but I remember at the beginning [of the pandemic] during March or April last year, I started watching Dave. I’m pretty pumped for Season Two to come out, it’s one of my favourite shows right now. It’s about a rapper, and it’s kind of a parody. It’s funny.
I went to a concert?
Honestly, I’ve never been huge on going to concerts. I went to a music festival in Tampa one time called Sunset Music Festival. I went there at least three years ago. That was a good time. I’m a big music fan, but I don’t know… it sounds better in the headphones for me.
I attended a live sporting event other than tennis?
I have to say it was probably some NBA game. It’s been a while… This is a good question, because I used to go to a lot of NBA games, NFL games, sometimes hockey. Hockey is fun to watch live, even though I don’t really follow it too much. I know playoff hockey is going on right now, but on TV I don’t watch it too much.
In basketball I’m a Philadelphia 76ers fan and in football I’m an Eagles fan. I love college basketball though. March Madness is my favourite time of the year. I’m a big [University of North Carolina] Tar Heels fan. Those are my three big teams.
I missed a flight?
I actually don’t know if I’ve ever missed a flight in my life. I’m pretty last-second with it, but I don’t think I’ve ever missed one.
I lost something important?
Another one where I’m pretty lucky with that. I always check my tennis bag and I never lose anything. I’ve never lost my racquets, my bags, nothing. I’m pretty good about that. I’ve definitely misplaced my phone a few times or my wallet, but it always works out and I haven’t really lost too much.