Photo: Kate Whitney-Lucey
Denis Kudla is one of the rising American stars on the ATP World Tour. Today he stunned Ivo Karlovic in his first round at Newport, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4, and afterwards he sat down with me to do a quick off-court Q & A.
Q. What is your greatest moment on the tennis court?
Definitely today, today was my greatest moment, beating Ivo Karlovic. It just gave me a sense of belief that I could really make it. I’ll also say, when I was 14 or 15, being on Arthur Ashe Stadium and playing on Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day. It was really incredible for me. Seeing Federer and Nadal, looking up to them as a young kid, it was just a dream.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I would probably say someone who does everything really slow and takes their time on everything, or chewing with your mouth open. I can’t stand that.
Q. What is your greatest fear?
Spiders. I’m terrified of spiders. Even on the internet I freak out.
Q. Any nicknames?
A lot people call me Kuds, you know Kudla’s my last name, and that’s pretty much it.
Q. Do you have a lucky charm that you bring on the court?
No, not really. I try to get away from superstition and lucky things because then I’ll depend on it too much. I use this chain, [points to neck] a cross from my Grandma from Ukraine, so I consider that my lucky charm.
Q. Do you still have a lot of family in Ukraine?
No, not really, I just have a grandma over there now.
Q. When did you come over to the States?
I was one.
Q. What is your passion outside of tennis?
Right now I’d probably say..... I’m really getting into music I want to start playing the guitar, I play the piano, I’ve stopped because of laziness but I still enjoy it a lot. I love music.
Q. What is your favorite type of music?
I’d probably say alternative rock.
Q. Do you have a favorite band?
Q. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I love burgers. It is something I shouldn’t have but every time I see one, I just have to have it.
Q. Favorite type of Movie?
Comedies by far. I love The Hangover.
Q. Did you see the second?
No I heard it wasn’t that good. I’ll watch it eventually.
Q. Favorite Food?
Q. Do you have a favorite city?
I love LA. I love Southern California. That is where I want to live. Trying to play tennis so I can live there. [Laughs]
Q. What is the last thing that you read?
“Think Like A Champion” by Donald Trump.
Q. Was it good? Would you recommend it?
Q. Most embarrassing moment?
Probably when I was younger. Tournaments usually started on Saturday but this tournament started on Friday. So I showed up on Saturday ready for my match, and everyone was like, "you defaulted yesterday,” and I drove about an hour to get there.
Q. How old were you?
Q. Where you crushed?
Yeah, it was actually my brother’s fault. [Laughs]
Q. Do you have a girlfriend?
I don’t have a girlfriend.
Q. What do you look for in a girl?
Uhhh, you know I go for looks. [Laughs] If she can make me laugh, if she has a sense of humor, that is the biggest thing for me.
Either/Or (The bold one is the one he chose)
Facebook or Twitter (he does have a Twitter account, @deniskudla)
Coke or Pepsi
Blonds or Brunettes
Shower or Bath
Boxer or Briefs
Would You rather lose your hair or your teeth.
Cat or Dog
Ocean or Mountains- I love mountains too.
Money or Fame
Singing or Dancing - Because I am a horrendous singer.
Q. Are you a good dancer?
No. I’m not good at either!
I guess you don't need to be if you are a great tennis player! He's extremely likeable on and off the court and I hope we will be seeing a lot of him in the future.