‘My tennis inspiration is Novak Djokovic. Because of him, I started to play tennis’

Shahida Jacobs
Jakub Mensik celebrates
Jakub Mensik from the Czech Republic during a tennis match

The Jakub Mensik fairytale continued at the Qatar Open as he has reached the semi-final with another stunning upset, but who exactly is Jakub Mensik?

The 18-year-old has been in sensational form in Doha as he beat fifth seed Alejandro Davidovic Fokina in the first round and followed it up with a top-tier performance against Andy Murray as he stunned the former world No 1 in three sets.

But his best was yet to come as he upset world No 5 and top seed Andrey Rublev in the quarter-final on Thursday, winning 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) to reach his maiden ATP Tour semi-final.

On the back of his blistering run, the ATP released an “It’s time to get to know Jakub Mensik 🙌” video and the Czech youngster made some interesting comments.

He starts off with: “I’m Jakub Mensik. I’m 18 years old and I’m from Czech Republic. I’m from Prostejov, a small city, pretty, very nice city.”

Asked about his dream match-up, he replied: “It will be Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open, for sure. Of course [I would win].”

The teenager added: “My tennis inspiration is Novak Djokovic. Because of him, I started to play tennis. He is my biggest idol. Because of him [or] I wouldn’t be here.”

When asked how he got into tennis, Mensik explained: “I was four years old and in front of my house there are two tennis courts outdoors. And I asked my mom and dad if I can try to play tennis also. This is the start of my career.”

Mensik finished runner-up to Bruno Kuzuhara in the 2022 Australian Open Boys’ singles final while he made his Grand Slam main draw debut at last year’s US Open, reaching the third round after coming through qualifying.

Mensik will break into the top 100 of the ATP Rankings on the back of his Qatar run and he will look to reach his first top-level final when he takes on Gael Monfils in the semi-final.

“It’s just been an incredible week from the beginning I played very well and I knew I could play with the big players. It’s an amazing feeling to reach the semi-finals after beating those good players,” he said after his win over Rublev.

“But the job is not done yet. Hopefully I can play like this again in the semis tomorrow and go on to make the final.”

Interestingly, Mensik received an entry into the draw thanks to the Next Gen Accelerator Programme that gives a top 250 player that is 20 and under a wildcard entry into one ATP 250 draw.

“It’s been a good choice to play the Arabian swing,” Mensik said. “I’m so happy with the matches I got last week and this week. It’s incredible for young players to have the opportunity to play these tournaments.”