Potential successor to Roger Federer makes a breakthrough in Geneva
Roger Federer may have crashed out of the Geneva Open in the first round, but Swiss interest has been maintained by one of his protégé.
At the age of 18, Dominic Stephan Stricker has been creating waves in his first ATP event, beating former US Open champion Marin Cilic in his first match and backing that up with a fine win against experienced clay courter Marton Fucsovics.
He then lost to Pablo Andújar in a tight three-setter on Thursday, but Stricker has laid down on a marker in the red clay with his victories against Cilic and Fucsovics.
They were two big wins that confirmed Switzerland may have champions to follow in Federer’s footsteps and Stricker confirm the influence of the 20-time Grand Slam champion has helped his progression.
Stricker and Federer shared a practice court for three weeks in Dubai during the pre-season and the former French Open junior champion confirms he was inspired by his time with the tennis legend.
“He told me some stuff, like how the serve is important and it’s the only shot in tennis that you can do by yourself,” Stricker told the ATP. “You can’t learn it too much, so I just worked really hard on this shot. It’s getting better and I’m winning many points on serve.”
Stricker confirmed he spoke to Federer in Geneva this week, as he managed to stay in the event for longer than the local legend: “We saw each other here and we were talking a little bit, just saying hello but not too much. We didn’t practice here but we practiced a lot at the start of the year.
“For sure that helps me to see how good he is and just to see that I’m actually close to his level – maybe not at his level, but I’m just trying to get there. It helps me to see it. I’m getting better and trying to get to this level where these guys are.”
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