Hubert Hurkacz on Monday became the second man from Poland to break into the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings when he reached a career-high World No. 10. The 24-year-old is the 174th player to join the elite group and the second this year, alongside Norwegian Casper Ruud.
This year’s Miami champion is the first man from his country to accomplish the feat since Wojtek Fibak, who climbed to a career-high World No. 10 on 25 July 1977. Hurkacz began the season at World No. 34.
“We have been working with my coach, CB [Craig Boynton], for [a] couple of years already, but the work we have been doing every single day, last year as well, we have been working very hard,” Hurkacz said during a press conference in Cincinnati. “I think just that’s a process and I’m improving my game. I try to get better every single day.”
It has been a year of firsts for Hurkacz, who has become a contender at the biggest tournaments on the circuit. The Polish star won his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami and advanced to his first major semi-final at Wimbledon.
Hurkacz has enjoyed good results this year, and he has also impressed his peers in the process. Former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov needed a final-set tie-break to claw past Hurkacz in the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals, and was quick to praise the Pole.
“He served amazing. I even told him after the match at the net. I think he’s improved amazingly on the serve. At some point I had to even guess where he’s going to go,” Dimitrov said. “He’s such a nice guy. It’s so nice to have him on Tour. Always very friendly, very easy to talk to. We’ve hit quite a few times against each other in Monaco. We have very friendly vibes all in all, which is great.”
As Dimitrov said, Hurkacz is known for his smile and kindness off the court. But on it, the winner of three trophies this season has been working hard alongside coach Craig Boynton to craft one of the most dangerous games on the ATP Tour.
“We’re always searching for improvements until he wants to put down the racquets and do something different. What you work on might change, because you sit down with a set of goals and once you achieve those goals, you need to replace them with new ones,” Boynton said. “The better you get, the harder you’ve got to work for the smaller improvement.”
This week four years ago, Hurkacz was outside the World’s Top 400. But the 6’5” right-hander steadily improved and in 2018 he competed in the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
“I have been playing tennis since I was a young kid,” Hurkacz said in Cincinnati. “So now being able to play on the biggest stages, it’s a lot of fun.”
With Hurkacz up to No. 10, Roger Federer falls from No. 9 to No. 11. It is the first time Federer has been outside the Top 10 since January 2017.