“I didn’t expect to win the ATP title so quickly”

Greek Talon RailwayBELGA’s photo

How many Dutch tennis players have won an ATP title? Until recently, Tallon Greco’s path was of little interest. After a disappointing debut season at the highest level, he was looking for some confidence. Not breaking out of the top 100, as No. 95 in the world, has kept him busy.

But when he saw his name this week after his shock win at the Hard Court Championships in Pune, India, the names of Tom Okker (26 titles), Richard Krajesek (17 titles) and Sjing Schulken (9 titles), the 26-year-olds saw his name. – The tennis player realizes that he has joined a select group: he is the 12th Dutch tennis player to win a tournament at the highest level.

“This is a special list to be on,” says the Greek track from his hotel room in Melbourne as he prepares for the Australian Open, the first major tournament of the new season starting Monday. “I didn’t expect to win an ATP title so quickly.”

For a long time, North Hollanders were judged by the lower echelons of the tennis circuit. He played the so-called futures (third professional level) and won eight opponents (second professional level) in a row before moving up to the highest level last year.

down the rankings

Partly due to two coronaviruses, an injury and early eliminations, the season turned out to be a disappointment. He hasn’t won a match on the ATP Tour since August and dropped from No. 65 to No. 95 in the world rankings. “This is also an important signal for me: If I’m fresh both physically and mentally, I can go with the good guys.”

I deliberately chose the Greek track starring Pune. In the Indian city, the field for the participants was much less crowded than at the tournament in Adelaide, Australia, which was held at one time and in which Novak Djokovic was victorious. The Greek track did not meet any top ten players on the way to the title: its highest opponents were ranked 59th and 60th in the world rankings.

“It couldn’t get any better,” Greekspoor says. With the victory, he gained 250 world ranking points and rose to 61st. “It’s a relief,” said the second-ranked Dutchman, whose goal was initially to defend his place in the top 100. A place among the top 100 tennis players guarantees participation in the four Grand Slam tournaments and earns them no less than €250,000 in prize money.

Table review

The new arrangement of the Greek course forces him to revise his planning. Initially, the goal was to play a number of clay court tournaments in South America after the Australian Open and then finish off the competition on his preferred surface. In this way he hoped to earn as many points as possible for the world rankings and prepare optimally for the clay court season in Europe.

But as world No. 61, the Greek track is bound to take part in the heavily packed Masters-1000 hard court tournaments in Miami and Indian Wells in March. The Dutchman may have won his first title at the highest level, but the tournament in Pune is one of the smallest on the ATP Tour, which is divided into categories.

The highest number of points can be earned in the world ranking and the highest prize money in Grand Slam tournaments (2000 points for the winner). This is followed by ATP tournaments in the Masters 1000 (1000 points) and ATP 500 (500 points) classes, which include the ABN Amro tournament in Rotterdam. The Greek track took home 250 points and ninety thousand euros in prize money by winning in Pune.

I have until Monday to decide if I’m going to South America after all or if I’m signing up for Rotterdam (February 11-19, so.) and continue to play on hard courts across Miami and Indian Wells. If you played like last week, there’s no reason to escape the hard court.

without a coach

The tennis player experienced his temporary heyday without a coach at his side. At the beginning of December, he parted ways with Raemon Sluiter, who was going to help him in Pune and Australia. Dennis Schenck, his other part-time coach, and Belgium’s Christoph Vliegen, who he recently added to his squad, were unable to attend.

“Before and after each game I was in great contact with my coach and wrote the tactical plans from the first point to the last,” said Greco, with whom his physical coach Bas van Bentom has been these weeks. Bass also knows a thing about tennis. In addition, I have experienced that during competitions I can come up with solutions myself if I am calm and airy in my head.

With little confidence as he finished last season, and with as much confidence he will start next week’s Australian Open. “They’re not going to take my first ATP title away from me and I think there are enough players, outside of the real best players, who would rather not take me in the first round.”

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