Ahead of the 2019 World TeamTennis season, the New York Empire are using select Tennis Tuesdays to introduce you to this year’s squad. After last week’s chat with Kirsten Flipkens, this week’s interview subject Empire veteran Neal Skupski.
The Brit, coming back for his fourth season on the Empire roster, dished on his expectations as the longest-tenured player, what he has in common with new coach Luke Jensen, and his favorite things to do in New York.
What are your thoughts on returning to World TeamTennis this year, specifically the Empire?
I’m super excited to be returning for my fourth season with the NY Empire. I always love this time of year competing in WTT. I enjoy the break for the ATP Tour and I can’t wait to get started, especially having two new franchises in the league this year. Our new team is looking really strong throughout with experience and rookies including our coach, Luke Jensen.
What are your thoughts on having a Grand Slam doubles champion in Luke Jensen as your coach? What do you think he can bring to the team?
I really like the appointment of Coach Jensen for the upcoming season. I can relate so much to him because he played on Tour with his brother. I can’t wait to pick his brain and gain some tips to help me during WTT, and also for my game overall. The one thing I am sure Luke will bring is energy and intensity to guide us to victory.
What are you most looking forward to at the new venue at Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning?
I’ve never been to the Cary Leeds Center but I am very much looking forward to seeing the venue this year. It’s always nice to play at a new venue and hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans so that they enjoy the experience and we can grow the sport of tennis and WTT at the same time.
Having this new venue is great not just for us but also to grow the sport to the next generation. I can’t wait to get on court with some of the juniors and hopefully show them a few things to take forward on and off the court.
As a stalwart veteran of the Empire, what are some of your favorite things to do in New York?
I’ve played in New York for a few years now and just love the city! It has so much energy and cool things to do. I do enjoy going to other sports events like the NY Mets while I’m in town and also going to Broadway shows. Lion King is my favorite!
What are your goals for the upcoming ATP season? WTT season?
My goals for the rest of the season is to establish myself in the top 30 of the ATP rankings. To do that I would have to win a couple of ATP tournaments and have good runs in the Grand Slam events.
My WTT goal is to win as much as possible. We will take one match at a time and not look too far ahead because we have done that in the past and come unstuck.
I’m excited because our team looks really good and I think the chemistry is going to be the best yet!