Thomas Mario Haas (born April 3, 1978) is a German tennis player. He is 6 ft 1+1⁄2 in (187 cm) tall and plays right-handed. He is currently ranked #10 in the world. He reached a career-high ranking of World No. 2 in May 2002. Haas is particularly well-known for his strong forehand.
Born in Hamburg, Haas started playing his own version of tennis when he was two-years-old, by using a wooden plank to hit balls against the wall or into his father's hands. When his father noticed his talents, he started bringing Haas to his job, which happened to be that of a tennis coach.
At five-years-old Haas won his first youth tournament, in Hamburg. At eight-years-old he would win his second, in Munich. Between eleven and thirteen, Haas would twice win the Austrian Championship, the German Championship, and the European Championship.
Haas's talents were noted by world renowned tennis guru Nick Bollettieri of the Bollettieri Academy in Florida. Nick was so impressed by the young German's talent that he offered Haas to stay and train at his academy for free. At 13, speaking little English, Haas moved to Florida to begin training at the academy.
In 1996, Haas became a professional tennis player. He gained attention as an upcoming tennis star when he won his first ATP title in 1999 and managed to make it to the semifinals of the Australian Open and was a finalist in the Grand Slam Cup. The following year he won a silver medal in the Sydney Olympics.
In 2001 he began to make even greater strides in his tennis career by winning four ATP titles, including his first ATP Master's title. Haas was quickly rising to the top of the tennis ranks when his career would be suddenly halted at #2 in the world, after a tragic and severe accident that nearly claimed the lives of Haas's parents, leaving his father in a coma. Haas would spend much of the 2002 year taking care of his family instead of playing tennis. At the end of the lay-off from tennis because of his parent's accident, he seriously injured his shoulder, requiring a major operation. He would be plagued by further injuries and related complications afterwards, and would not return to professional tennis fully until 2004. Before his parents' accident and various injuries and related complications, he had an impressive record against notable former, current, and future #1 ranked players: 3-0 against Andy Roddick, 5-5 against Pete Sampras, 2-1 against Roger Federer, 2-1 against Marat Safin, and 2-0 against Jim Courier. Haas would win two more ATP titles in his return year of 2004, while trying to gain back his form.
In 2006 he won three ATP Tournaments and would put in an impressive performance at the U.S. Open, making it to the quarterfinals where he was knocked out by Nikolay Davydenko, despite having been up two sets. Haas began having severe cramps in his legs in the third set, and from then on his limited mobility on the court perhaps cost him the remaining three sets and a match in the semifinals. During the match he was visibly disturbed, repeatedly hitting his legs with his racquet, frustrated at the cramps.
At the end of the year he had to win the Paris Masters to qualify for ATP Championship. He lost after a semifinal run to Dominik Hrbatý with health problems and did not play again for the rest of the year.
In 2007, Haas, with his trademark long hair now cut short, had battled his way to his third Australian Open semifinal, which included intense matches against David Nalbandian and a five-set quarterfinal rematch against Nikolay Davydenko. He lost the semifinal against first time Grand Slam semifinalist Fernando Gonzalez from Chile in straight sets. Despite this loss Haas is returning into the Top10 of the world rankings for the first time since 2002.
On February 25 in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships at Memphis Haas stopped Roddick's quest in the final, winning 6-3 6-2. This was the first time Haas had won a title without facing a single break point in any of his matches, as well as the first time he has won titles in consecutive seasons. It is also only the 2nd time a player has won 3 titles at Memphis, the last time being Jimmy Connors, who won in 1979, 1983, and 1984. Haas has not lost a final since losing to Agassi in Rome 2002.
Most recently Haas reached the quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Open, a Masters tournament held in Indian Wells, California, where he lost to Scotland's Andy Murray in a match tiebreaker. He is currently placed at #6 in the 2007 ATP Champion's Race. Haas, the #13 seed (10th-ranked), not known for being much of a grass courter, has advanced to the 4th round of Wimbledon for the first time in 2007, defeating Zack Fleishman, Tomas Zib, and #21 seed Dmitry Tursunov. Unfortunately, the run came to an end after he suffered a torn abdominal muscle and he had to withdraw a day before playing Roger Federer.
In the 2007 US Open Haas equaled his best result in New York by reaching the quarterfinals with thrilling 5 set wins over Sebastian Grosjean and James Blake. His run ended, however, with a 3 set loss to Nikolay Davydenko.
Haas is seen as an intense and emotional player, sometimes having outbursts on the court by muttering at himself or at his coaches, or even off the court.
In the first half of 2008, Haas was derailed by injuries, causing him to miss both the Australian Open and French Open. This dropped him significantly in the rankings as he was unable to back up his semifinal performance at the Australian Open the year before. He made it to the quarters of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, defeating Andy Murray in 3 sets. He was then forced to withdraw from his quarterfinal match against Roger Federer due to injury.
He reached the third round of Wimbledon with a four set win over Guillermo Canas and a straight set win over #23 seed Tommy Robredo. He then fell to Andy Murray in four sets 4-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 2-6.
In the hard court season, he got to the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C. but was steamrolled by the red-hot Juan Martín del Potro 6-2, 6-1.At the Rogers Cup in Toronto he beat former world number one (Carlos Moyà) and then lost to Nikolay Davydenko in the second round. At the US Open he beat #12 seed Richard Gasquet in five tough sets, 6-7(3), 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. He then fell in five sets to Gilles Müller of Luxembourg in five sets despite cruising in the first two sets. He lost 6-2, 6-2, 6-7(5), 3-6, 3-6.
Haas is presently dating the actress Sara Foster, whom he met through Kate Hudson.