TFP 052: Dennis Novikov on Climbing the ATP Tour Ladder
On today’s show, I spoke with ATP Pro Dennis Novikov. As an 18-year old, Dennis gained direct entry to the 2012 US Open singles and doubles main draws by winning both titles at the Boys 18s National Championship at Kalamazoo. Dennis impressively won his first round singles and doubles matches at the US Open, and has been steadily climbing up the ATP Tour ladder ever since, reaching a career high of #119 in the world last year. He also played two years of college tennis at UCLA, a top-ranked school that another podcast guest, Clay Thompson, attended.
You’ll hear about Dennis’s daily routines, how he handles adversity, the type of training he does in the gym, and tips for improving your tennis game on Episode 52 of The Tennis Files Podcast. I first met Dennis after a World Team Tennis match between the Washington Kastles and the Orange County Breakers in D.C. My dad and I chatted briefly with Dennis in the garage elevator, and it is really cool to have him on as a guest on the podcast.
I hope you enjoy my interview with Dennis, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Time-Stamped Show Notes
- [3:57] Dennis’s first memory of hitting a tennis ball
- [4:46] Dennis’s brother’s influence on Dennis’s tennis game?
- [5:10] Other sports/activities Dennis played as a youngster
- [5:58] How not specializing early helped Dennis’s tennis game
- [6:38] Dennis’s favorite hockey player
- [7:00] When Dennis believed that he could be a professional tennis player
- [7:42] Dennis’s role models growing up
- [8:12] Having your dad as your tennis coach
- [8:45] Pressures as a top-ranked junior
- [9:29] When Dennis reached the top rankings in juniors
- [10:36] Winning without training at tennis academies
- [11:21] Why being a successful junior player doesn’t really translate to the pros
- [13:41] Dennis’s experience winning both the 18s singles and doubles titles in Kalamazoo
- [15:09] Going pro versus playing college tennis
- [16:09] Biggest improvements in his game while at UCLA
- [16:59] Where Dennis would have gone has he not chosen UCLA
- [17:36] Why Dennis left UCLA after two years
- [18:12] The most memorable moment as a Bruin
- [19:15] Winning both first round matches at the 2012 US Open as an 18 year old
- [20:52] The toughest moment in Dennis’s career and how he overcame it
- [22:10] Differences between the juniors, college, and the pro game
- [23:10] What Dennis has changed in his training over the past few years on the ATP tour
- [23:42] Dennis’s speed and agility workouts
- [24:19] Changes in the pro game: shortening matches and using a time clock between points
- [25:28] A typical day in the life of Dennis Novikov on non-tournament days
- [26:22] Dennis’s go-to breakfast
- [27:00] Dennis’s frequency training strength, speed, agility, power, and endurance
- [27:41] Dennis’s go-to exercises in the weight room
- [28:15] The importance of different set and rep schemes in your workouts (i.e. endurance vs. power)
- [28:59] What Dennis eats and drinks during a match
- [29:45] Does Dennis practice meditation or yoga?
- [30:28] Caloric intake and the 14k diet
- [30:55] How many meals Dennis eats a day
- [31:06] Dennis’s favorite TV shows
- [31:55] Sustaining a pro tennis career from a financial standpoint
- [33:02] Why Dennis couldn’t take a dime of money for reaching the second round of singles and doubles at the US Open as an 18 year old
- [33:21] Dennis’s racquet, strings, and tension setup
- [33:58] 3 books Dennis recommends tennis players read to improve
- [34:46] Dennis’s thoughts on the McGregor – Mayweather fight
- [36:00] Tips to help improve our serves
- [36:39] Dennis’s schedule over the next few months
- [37:31] Where we can follow Dennis online and on social media
- [37:53] One key piece of advice to help improve your tennis game
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Links Mentioned in the Show
My Fight / Your Fight – Rhonda Rhousey
I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory – Ray Lewis
Win or Learn: MMA, Conor McGregor, and Me: A Trainer’s Journey – John Kavanagh
Tennis Files Youtube Channel – Subscribe! You know you want to 😉
Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking them, I make
Eleventy-Billion dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂
If you enjoyed my interview with Dennis, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!
And be sure to check out my vlogs and player interviews at the 2017 Citi Open on my Youtube Channel! The first vlog should be up on August 1st.
For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!