JJ Wolf’s Monday: Cincinnati Bengals and the greatest game of his life | TBEN | Tennis


Monday will be a big day for JJ Wolf, and not just because he will be in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The Cincinnati native will wake up early to watch his hometown Cincinnati Bengals play in the NFL Playoffs against the Buffalo Bills. The football game kicks off at 7am in Melbourne.

‘I will have to. I don’t miss that at all,’ said Wolf. “I’ve got my jersey and everything, so I’ll rock it.”

Wolf will wear a Joe Burrow sweater, which his father gave him for Christmas. Bengals quarterback Burrow and Wolf both attended Ohio State University for three years.

But the American’s overall focus will be on his match against compatriot Ben Shelton. Both men are in the fourth round on their debut at the main draw of the Australian Open.

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“It means the world,” said Wolf. “I try not to think too much about results, but when you work hard and you see results, it’s hard not to let that sink in a little bit.”

At this time last year, Wolf was outside the Top 200 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. With his victory over compatriot Michael Mmoh in the third round, he is number 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

“I didn’t really know,” said Wolf. “One of my friends texted me ‘Congratulations on the Top 50’, so I just found out. But my end goal was not to be Top 50, so for now it feels good, but it’s just another stepping stone.”

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Wolf has no specific goal in mind. Instead, he wants to see how good he can be. The 24-year-old is currently feeling good in Melbourne.

“I think [my confidence is] in a good place. I’ve never been one of these players so outwardly convinced that it benefits them. I think I could always use a little more confidence. I think I lost a lot more in tennis growing up than a lot of other players who made it to the pros just because I didn’t play much tennis until halfway through high school,” said Wolf. “So I guess always thinking you’re the best wasn’t instilled in me.

“I’ve always had a kind of workman mentality towards it. So I think I’m definitely starting to build a little more confidence.”

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The American explained that he believes he hates losing more than winning. One loss that stands out is from his freshman year of high school on Cincinnati Country Day. He lost to his teammate Asher Hirsch in the final of the Ohio State High School State Tournament. That ended up being his only shot at the trophy, as he didn’t play tennis again in high school after that.

But Wolf is now making up for that in Melbourne. He may not have proven himself to be the best high school singles player in Ohio, but he’s in the last 16 at one of the biggest tournaments in the world.


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