Game Set Match Interview with Tanner Bruin from Love Means Zero by Daisy Jordan
In my novel Love Means Zero, Hilton, the main character, works as a photographer for tennis magazine Game Set Match. The following is a Game Set Match interview with Tanner Bruin, Hilton’s favorite player. It is set at the beginning of the French Open in May 2007, just after Hilton first meets Tanner, and is written by GSM reporter Deidre Fox for the Player Spotlight section of the magazine, which features a different men’s or women’s player each week.
Player Spotlight–Tanner Bruin
There’s no doubt about it—Tanner Bruin is constantly in the spotlight. But lately, it’s only been the tennis spotlight. The fun-loving fan favorite has disappeared from the party scene between tournaments over the last month and a half. He’s received no shortage of media attention for his fantastic results on court, but why is he lying low off the courts? GSM’s Deidre Fox decided to ask him just that.
GSM: Tanner, thanks for being our spotlighted player this week. I think our last Player Spotlight with you was back in 2004, when you won your first Masters, in Cincinnati.
TB: Yeah, I think you’re right. Wow, that seems like a long time ago. I feel like I was so young then. But I guess I was, what…21?
GSM: About to turn 22. That was your 3rd year on tour. How do you feel your game has changed or progressed since then?
TB: I feel like it’s changed drastically. It’s really more my mental game though. I play the same physical game, but back then I was just all over the place, playing like crazy and hoping I’d win. Now it’s more controlled, and I have more strategy.
GSM: You still play some pretty exciting matches.
TB: Oh yeah. I love to get the crowd into it. Just ‘cause I got more controlled doesn’t mean I got boring. (Grins.)
GSM: Well, we hope you never do. You’ve been ranked No. 3 in the world since the Masters Cup last year, your highest ever. Congratulations.
TB: Thanks. It’s been an amazing ride.
GSM: But you have yet to win a Grand Slam. How does it feel to be ranked right under Federer and Nadal, who each have multiple Grand Slam titles, or just above Andy Roddick, who’s also claimed one?
TB: It’s a lot of pressure, for sure. With all 3 of those guys, I feel like they kind of exploded onto the scene. They were like, 12, and winning Grand Slams. (Laughs.) No, just kidding. But it feels like it. I think my game has progressed a little slower and steadier than theirs. It took me awhile to work my way up in the rankings because I didn’t win a major. I had to keep winning Masters events and play almost every week. Federer and Nadal win so many majors they basically wouldn’t have to play the rest of the year and they’d keep their ranking. (Laughs again.) But I feel like my Grand Slam is coming. And hopefully it won’t be just one. I dream about the Career Slam, like everybody does. But that’s a far reach. Right now I’d take one, absolutely.
GSM: Well, GSM definitely hopes it’s coming soon too. We’re rooting for you.
GSM: But now on to what our readers really wanna know about. You’ve disappeared from the party scene. Why?
TB: (Laughs.) I haven’t disappeared. I’ll be back soon enough. I’ve just been trying to really focus on the clay-court season. It’s my worst surface, obviously, so my coach, Rick Holtz, wanted me to lay off the fun for a couple months and get more serious.
GSM: Please. We don’t buy that. Tell us the real story.
TB: (Laughs again.) Wow, I can’t get away with anything. Okay, maybe I have a secret girlfriend.
GSM: That’s more like it. There hasn’t been much news in the area of your dating life since your brief fling with Natalie Ogden in January, right before the Australian. What’s going on there?
TB: With Natalie? She’s cool. I saw her a couple months ago at a party in New York. But like you said, it wasn’t serious.
GSM: No, not with Natalie. But I think you knew that.
GSM: But while we’re on the subject of Natalie, she’s a Victoria’s Secret model. Do you typically go for models?
TB: It’s ironic you would ask that. But no, I don’t have a specific type. I go for whoever I like.
GSM: Why is that ironic?
TB: Natalie’s not the only model I’ve dated.
GSM: Really? Who else?
TB: It’s a secret.
GSM: Well it’s obviously a well-kept one, because I don’t recall any photos of you with models in previous GSM issues.
GSM: Well, aren’t you evasive today? Back to tennis for a minute; how do you feel about your outlook at this year’s French Open? You’ve had some good results on clay these last few weeks, including reaching the semis in Monte Carlo.
TB: Yeah. I feel like I have my best chance ever here. My best result in Paris is like, 4th round. That’s not good. And I think that 4th-round match lasted about an hour. I got steamrolled. But I feel ready this year. I’m playing well on clay so far. I hope I’ll make a good run here.
GSM: Well, we’re wishing you the best of luck. Before you go, you know we always end the Player Spotlight by having the player tell our readers 5 things they don’t know about you.
TB: Of course. I’ve been thinking long and hard about these. So here goes. 1) My favorite non-major tournament every year is Cincy, ‘cause it leads right into the US Open, and it’s a home crowd. It gets me so pumped up. 2) I am dying to get a dog. I’m trying to figure out how it could travel with me all the time and what it would do in the hotel all day while I’m playing. 3) I hiked every single 14er in Colorado by the time I was 12.
GSM: Wait. What’s a 14er?
TB: A mountain peak higher than 14,000 feet.
GSM: Oh. How many does Colorado have?
GSM: You were clearly a lazy kid.
TB: Yeah. I always begged my parents to take me to Mount McKinley in Alaska. It’s the highest peak in the US. 20,000 feet.
GSM: Is that number 4?
TB: No. 4) I have a surprise for everybody at Wimbledon in a few weeks. And 5) I read GSM every week. Seriously. And I don’t even have a subscription; I buy it from a newsstand, which is like triple the price. You guys are making tons of money off me. Well, in more ways than one. ©GSM