In the United States, at the US Open, the public has yet to get used to his name. Maybe also in the Netherlands. Botique van de Zandschulp. This week on
The 25-year-old tennis player from Wageningen made his big breakthrough at the grand slam tournament in New York City, where he surprised with a quarterfinal berth. Russia’s world number two Daniil Medvedev is his opponent on Tuesday.
“I can’t quite believe I did that,” Van de Zandschulp said one morning after beating Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the round of 16. “He hasn’t come down yet, that will come after the tournament.”
The five fiercely contested passer (6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1) against number eleven on the seed list is well treated, the body feels fresh. Van de Zandschulp celebrated the place of the quarter-finals with a dinner in the city. He slept well, he says, despite the heavy traffic around his Manhattan hotel.
His successful march is unlikely in New York, where he started in the qualifying tournament. Only twice before has a US Open quarter-finalist started as a first game. Van de Zandschulp is the first Dutchman to reach the last eight in a Grand Slam tournament since Sjeng Schalken made it to Wimbledon in 2004. Remarkable: a year ago he had never played Grand Slam, he mainly played challenger tournaments and had limited space in the world top 200.
This year, he played all the grand slam tournaments on the tennis calendar: at Roland Garros and Wimbledon he survived one round, in New York his progression exploded. “I gained confidence, in my own game,” Van de Zandschulp explains of his sudden success. “I think I’ve improved mentally. Behave better in games and know how to fight back more often.
His journey to the quarter-finals shows his evolution: in his first six matches, he lost the first set each time, but he was able to count on his resilience. In his match against Schwartzman, he got off to a better start and won the first two sets, then lost the third.
In the fourth set, he lost two match points and the Argentine tied the score. If he had been stunned by the mental blow, no one would have been surprised, but Van de Zandschulp remained standing. “In the past this fifth set would have probably escaped me,” he said. “Now I have decided to start well to give myself a boost. Van de Zandschulp broke Schwartzman’s first save and won 6-1.
He also grew physically, says the Dutchman. “I can follow games like this more easily than before. I feel in good shape, thanks to the physical training and many games, I have gained endurance. ‘ Don’t hesitate to call it a late bloomer, says the 25-year-old Dutchman. “It also matches tennis today, with boys not peaking until later in life.”
In New York, his name is gaining importance. He often has to repeat it several times. Van de Zandschulp, it does not easily come out of the American gorges. Her first name Botic, pronounced with a ‘k’ at the end, comes from Sweden, her parents told her. “I’m just going to have to believe it.”
Van de Zandschulp is the great unknown at the US Open, but once had a life on the tennis court. At the age of four, he hit his first balls at the Spitsbergen tennis club in his hometown of Veenendaal. His mother and brother played, the young Botic accompanied them and was sold. “I started to like him because I won, like a lot of kids,” he says. “I didn’t realize I was good until I started playing and winning international competitions.”
His life will be different from this week. In the first week of the US Open, he collected $ 425,000 in cash prizes, almost as much as he has accumulated in his career so far. “It was doable in recent years, but not a lot of money,” says Van de Zandschulp. “It makes it easier. Maybe I can invest in a full time trainer. In New York, Van de Zandschulp is assisted by Michiel Schapers on behalf of the tennis association.
On Tuesday he will face Daniil Medvedev, Russia’s world number two and 2019 finalist. “I can agree with those big boys,” said Van de Zandschulp, who has already beaten Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud in second. tower. Schwartzman was also a top 20 opponent. Medvedev is of a different order, Van de Zandschulp realizes. “It’s going to be a tough game.”
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