(KTXL) — This week tennis fans may have found the next, great American player to cheer for — And he’s from Sacramento.
Jason Brooksby, 20, made it to the 16th round at the U.S. Open and faced-off with world-number-one Novak Djokovic.
“I was pumped,” said Brooksby. “I was excited how I started the match and I knew the crowd would love it too. I just wanted to hear the energy.”
Brooksby rode the wave to a first-set victory on Monday night in New York over Djokovic. That, more than anything, showed the first-year pro belonged on tennis’ biggest stage.
“I expected I could go far — I did — it’s true like you said, everyone says that, but I just really believe in our strategies and how we approach the matches and everything and it showed well,” Brooksby said.
Brooksby’s coach, Joseph Gilbert, said it was satisfying to see Brooksby play his best.
“It was so cool to see what level he can play at when he’s going 110%,” Gilbert said.
Three months ago, Brooksby was only ranked as the 116th men’s player in the world before the French Open.
Today, he’s ranked 80th. When the rankings come out soon, everyone expects Brooksby to be in the Top 50.
“It just shows that what I’ve been doing to get to this stage, so far, is working really well,” Brooksby said.
Brooksby knows he’ll need to improve in certain areas to become the next, great American tennis pro.
“I’ve heard people say it’s the serve,” Brooksby said. “It’s not the serve itself — it’s the physicality of being able to do that over and over again.”
“He hit it where he needs to hit it,” Gilbert said. “The problem is, can he hit it for five sets?”
The 6 foot, 4 inch tall, 200-pound Brooksby has been working with a strength and conditioning coach the past year, helping him overcome some nagging injuries that set him back in 2020, and getting his body ready for the grueling stress of the All Pro Tour.
“He’s still a boy in a man’s body, and so we have work to do on that side,” Gilbert said. “But we’re excited about what the potential is.
Brooksby is 100% in on the plan that he, his coach and his trainers have laid out for the coming months.
“I think it’s great,” Brooksby said. “It’s my first full year as a pro, we’ve risen really, really fast showing what we can do. I don’t put too much thought into it necessarily, but it’s really exciting for our journey to get to the top and be consistent. So, I’m really excited for that.”