Brit tries to regain his form
Alex Bogdanovic of Great Britain rushes the net to return a ball hit by Matheson Klein of Australia during the PNC Men's Futures of Pittsburgh tennis tournament at the Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center.
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As Alex Bogdanovic walked up the pathway toward the clubhouse after the singles final match Sunday at the Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center, he asked, "Who won Wimbledon?"
When told Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray of Scotland in four sets, he added, "Really! Four sets. That's a big thing over there."
Bogdanovic knows all about Wimbledon, having played there and lost in the first round each time from 2002-09.
He was considered a rising star back then and received an exemption into the tournament some of those years as a resident of Great Britain and a member of the British Lawn Tennis Association.
But Bogdanovic hasn't fulfilled the lofty expectations of Britain's fans, in part because injuries have hampered him along the way.
Now 28, he found himself trying to regain his form and ranking as the No. 1 seed in the $10,000 PNC Men's Futures of Pittsburgh.
It seemed like a lifetime ago when Bogdanovic was competing in the $50,000 Challenger tournaments and once had a world ranking as high as 108 in 2007.
His ranking is now 363 and he's struggling to get healthy and flame the flickering hopes of a once-promising tennis career.
"I'm struggling with my back and wanted to get in a lot of matches," said Bogdanovic, who won the singles championship with a workmanlike 6-2, 6-4 victory against unseeded Matheson Klein of Australia Sunday in the finals.
"I'm out here trying to work my way back to where I was -- maybe do even better. I still feel like I'm quite away from the standard I was," he said.
"I've been around a long time. It doesn't get any easier. I think I'm more mature than I was, but I'm still trying to figure things out."
It wasn't too difficult to figure out why top-seeded Bogdanovic coasted past Klein, 22.
"My serve, that was the key," Bogdanovic said. The left-hander has a high-kicking serve that kept Klein off balance.
"I try to stay positive with it and go for it. When I'm serving aggressively, I play more aggressively," he said.
"I haven't been playing a lot, so I want to get strong and stay injury free."
Bogdanovic didn't lose his serve against Klein and broke his opponent's serve early in each set.
Klein said he was a bit surprised to even be in the finals because he took off last year to start a coaching business in Brisbane and is working to get back to his 2011 ranking of 730. He is currently at 1197.
"He's not been tested all week," Klein said of Bogdanovic, who didn't lose a set.
"He's in form."
Bogdanovic and Klein got to know each other well because they were both housed by Elizabeth and David Charles in Mt. Lebanon during the week-long tournament.
Bogdanoic earned $1,300 for winning the tournament, but more important he picked up points that are crucial in his bid to qualify for the Challenger tournaments.
"To play the Challengers, that is my goal," said Bogdanovic, who is scheduled to play in a Futures tournament in Rochester, N.Y., this week.
"I need to get in a groove."
First Published July 9, 2012 12:00 am