When you get the business end of the dreaded double bagel—tennis vernacular for losing 6-0, 6-0—it usually augurs ill for your career. One exception to this rule seems to be Robby Ginepri, a 20-year-old from Marietta, Ga. In 2002, his first full year on tour, Ginepri lost to Giovanni Lapentti and Lleyton Hewitt by the most ignominious score possible. "I didn't let my confidence get too low," he says. "The way I looked at it was, What do I need to improve?"
Strength was high on the priority list. And after spending much of the off-season adding bulk to his 5'11" frame, Ginepri has cracked the top 50 and become a major figure in the renaissance of U.S. men's tennis. He reached the quarterfinals at both the Pacific Life Open and the NASDAQ-100, beating James Blake, Alex Corretja and world No. 8 Marat Safin (who, in fairness, had a stomach ailment). There was no shame in Ginepri's NASDAQ loss, as he pushed No. 4 Carlos Moy� to a third-set tiebreak.
The athletic Ginepri crushes his ground strokes (the forehand in particular) and hits a powerful serve. Most important, he is no longer in awe of his surroundings. "My goal for the first half of the year was to be in the top 75 and beat a top 10 player by the French Open," he says. "Maybe I shot too low."