A second straight trip to the U.S. Open didn’t end the way Rob Galloway wanted.
But, it was a strong step forward after suffering a setback.
The lifelong Greenville resident and former Wofford standout was ousted alongside doubles partner Nate Lammons 6-3, 6-2 to 15th-seeded Neal Skupski and Jamie Murray in the opening round of the 139th edition of the event held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City last week.
For Galloway, it was a comeback of sorts after dealing with an injured ankle that sidelined him for the past few months. He said the road to recovery is on schedule.
“My partner and I had a good start to the year, and obviously the injury derailed my plans,” Galloway said. “I played a tournament two weeks before the U.S. Open and was pain-free there. That’s my goal is to continue to play pain-free.”
Galloway, 26, earned a 6-2, 6-2 victory with Lammons against Kevin King and Reilly Opelka in the first round of the 2018 U.S. Open. He was the first player from the Southern Conference to play in the tournament in more than 30 years, as well as the first men’s player from South Carolina in over 25 years.
Galloway’s longtime personal coach, Robb Thompson of the Greenville Country Club, said he’s seen a steady progression in his player over a long period of time.
“He grew up at my club at the GCC since he was 6 years old,” Thompson said. “It’s been an uphill climb, but every year he’s gotten better. He’s been a big deal for South Carolina because it’s been such a long time since we put someone on the tour. He’s not at his peak yet, but he’s going to make it. I think he’ll be the top 15 in the world before it’s over.”
Galloway, who was ranked as high as No. 83 in the world earlier this year, followed up the U.S. Open by playing a tournament in New Haven, Connecticut. The former multiple All-SOCON selection said his current goal is to continue to build strength off the injury and in the standings.
“I’m going to keep playing in challengers and keep getting back to where I was before,” he said. “I plan to stay in the [United] States and get my level back and try to get my ranking back up.”
Galloway said his initial goal was to give the professional route two years to determine if it was a path on which to continue. Now in his fourth year, his goal is to keep making a name for himself and the state.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I put a lot into South Carolina tennis as a junior. Obviously South Carolina tennis has done a lot for me, especially in Greenville. It’s nice to pay it back and try to do well for my state.”