How an unread email caused one player to miss Wimbledon

Tennis Features

We all have bad days.

For most of us we may accidentally leave our wallet or purse at home or miss the bus by a matter of seconds. Something that causes an inconvenience, but isn’t a complete disaster.

And then some us will not properly read a really important email, something that causes us to miss the chance to play at Wimbledon.

What? You’ve never done that? Not to worry, almost nobody has. Almost.

One man who has the unenviable first-hand knowledge of how it feels to make such a mistake is Tim Smyczek, an American ranked 121st in the world.

“I’m pretty sure that’s the first time that’s happened to me,” he said of the mishap, amusingly unsure of his own ability to carry out a simple task like applying to enter a major event.

In fact, he wasn’t even the one to notice the error.

His coach, Dustin Taylor, decided to look through the list of entrants when it was released, something he rarely does, to make sure that there were no problems with any of his three players.

After locating the first two, he slowly began to realise what had happened.

“As a coach, you never want to break that news to a player,” Taylor said.

“You never want to let them know that they’re going to miss any Slam, let alone Wimbledon.”

After being alerted to the situation while en-route to Europe to play at some warm-up events before Wimbledon qualifying began, Smyczek tried, and failed, to get a wildcard entry to the tournament.

Subsequently, he ended up returning much sooner than hoped to the United States, playing in a Challenger event in Chicago this week as the number one seed.

At least he had the chance to earn some ranking points and money though, right? Wrong.

Despite winning the first set comfortably 6-1 in his first round match, he lost in three sets. Ouch.

When your luck’s out, your luck’s out.


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