Key Milwaukee

June 2013

An A-Z visitors guide to Milwaukee Wisconsin. Sponsored by Key Magazine Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Second Milwaukeean of Polish heritage makes name on tennis circuit By ROGER A. STAFFORD KEY Milwaukee managing editor MILWAUKEE IS REPRESENTED on the international tennis circuit today by a scrappy player of Polish descent, just as it was 75 years ago when the son of immigrant parents rose to No. 1 in the world. At 25 and in his eighth season as a professional tennis player, Tim Smyczek is a scrappy singles player who has surprised higher-ranked professionals in top tournaments in the US and around the world. At about the same age in the early 1930s, Frank (Frankie) Parker (born Franciszek Andrzej Pajkowski in Milwaukee) was moving up rapidly in the then completely amateur tennis ranks, having been described as a "shy, spindly-legged kid who shagged balls" at the old Town Club on Milwaukee's East Side. Parker went on to be ranked among the top 10 tennis players in the world for more than a decade and was one of few Americans to win both the French (1948, 1949). and U.S. Championships (1944, 1945). The only title to elude Parker was Wimbledon, yet the Daily Telegraph of London ranked him #1 in the world in 1948. Today, Smyczek, whose family lives in Hales Corners, Wis., plays in a completely professional world with outstanding athletes from countries that didn't exist in Parker's day. Although the depth of the competition is far greater, Smyczek shows the same dedication to the game Parker did when he represented Milwaukee throughout the world. This year Smyczek is making his presence known in the major league of tennis, the ATP Circuit. With wins over higher-ranked players like 6-10 Ivo Karolovic in the Australian Open and Fernando Verdasco (then 24th in the world) in San Jose, Calif., Smyczek now gets support from fans who call him "Smee." Recently, he signed a new, allimportant clothing contract with up-and-coming Athletic DNA. 38 Practice paying off for touring Milwaukee pro Smyczek competing at BNP Paribas Open Interviewed during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, earlier this year, Smyczek attributed recent success to new coach Billy Heiser. "We work well together and have made adjustments to my game and mentality," said Smyczek, adding that the changes involved match strategy as well as the style of his game. Watching him practice on the hard courts of Indian Wells, his intensity and physical fitness are evident. At 5-9 and 145 pounds, quickness is essential against opponents who are often much taller and stronger. It's not surprising that he calls his secondround loss in the Australian Open this year one of his "most enjoyable matches" because his opponent, Spaniard David Ferrar, rose to be one of the world's top five players despite being the same height and weight as Smyczek. Ferrer lost his first set in the Australian Open to Smyczek, before winning in four sets and advancing to the semifinals where he lost to the eventual champion and #1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic. What's ahead for Milwaukee's representative on the tennis circuit? Smyczek hopes to play in as many ATP tournaments as he can, often fighting into the main draw through grueling qualifying

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