FLUSHING, N.Y. – In his U.S. Open debut, Texas A&M sophomore All-American Austin Krajicek (pronounced CRY-check) fell to No. 49-ranked Agustin Calleri of Argentina, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, in the first round of the men’s singles main draw held Wednesday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
“Austin played well for the first set and a half, but Calleri served two to three aces a game which put pressure on Austin’s serve,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “In the middle of the second set, Austin had a chance to hold serve to stay fairly close to his opponent, but not winning that game kind of took him out of his comfort zone. Obviously, there was about a 14-year difference between the two players and Calleri played at a very high level today as you would expect from a player who has been on the professional circuit for a long time.”
The lefty from Brandon, Fla., who completed his freshman season for the Aggies with co-Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year and co-Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year honors in 2007-08, earned a wild-card into the grand slam tournament after winning the USTA Boys 18’s National Championships title earlier this month in Kalamazoo, Mich.
After participating in the U.S. Open the last two years in the juniors portion of the tournament, the 18-year-old was one of the feel good stories of the event, holding the distinction of being the only current college player in the 128-player draw which included top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain and four-time defending U.S. Open champion Roger Federer of Switzerland. Krajicek is one of only two known Aggies to ever compete in the main draw of men’s singles next to former A&M All-American Grant Connell of Canada (1984-85) who advanced as far as the third round of singles.
“Just to have the experience of playing on this kind of stage is incredible for a young player like Austin,” said Denton who won the U.S. Open doubles title in 1982. “I did not get the opportunity to play in the U.S. Open until I was 22 or 23 years old. Austin is about four or five years ahead of schedule. This opportunity has given him a lot of confidence and makes him hungry to get better and come back to taste it again in the future. Coach (Bob) McKinley and I were pleased with how well he played today. He brought his best tennis and was not a deer in the headlights. He hung in there and played very well against one of the top players in the world.”