Daniel Altmaier (186 °) is living happy hours in Roland Garros after having achieved the most important victory of his career in his first Grand Slam. The German, which comes from the qualy, eliminated Matteo Berrettini (8th) in straight sets 6-2, 7-6 (5) and 6-4 and got among the best 16 tennis players in the tournament.
With only 22 years, the one born in the small town of Kempen (30 km from Düsseldorf), this son of a Ukrainian father and Russian mother started his way on the circuit between the ITF and Challengers tournaments in Europe. Since her debut in the Meerbusch Challenger (at only 16 years old) she could only be awarded nine Futures, of which five were between 2016 and 2017 (including a final in Belgium against Casper ruud).
Precisely the 2017 was the year where Altmaier’s career began to decline. A tear in the supraspinatus muscle (shoulder) when he was playing the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 from Antalya It started out as the beginning of an unfortunate history of injuries. “We saw with the doctor that something was wrong because he could no longer lift his arm. The shoulder was a little forward, which meant that he had put a lot of pressure on the muscles” described the German in an interview with Tennis.com.
After recovery, he returned to compete in several Futures and Challengers, but he was no longer the same. Unfortunately In the semifinals of the Future of Qatar 2018, in Doha, he had an accident in his match against Pietro Rondoni that caused a displacement of the pelvis. “At that time, really I didn’t have a team. She used physical therapists and doctors, but not with tennis skills. I had a little structural problem in my body. This always forced me to have muscle problems in the abdomen, back and hips “ he told Tennis.com in the preview of the game against Berrettini.
After that injury, returned to the courts in 2019 starting from scratch and by the hand of Argentine coach Francisco Yunis (Federico Coria’s coach and who also worked with Carlos Berlocq, Horacio Zeballos, Renzo Olivo, Leonardo Mayer and Franco Squillari, among others) was raising his level little by little. “Daniel is a boy with a lot of potential, he is 21 years old but 19 for tennis, because he was unemployed for two years due to various injuries. He is supported by the German federation because he is among the young with projection” Yunis described in a talk with Diario El Norte.
In 2019 he obtained four Futures and since the middle of that year he settled in Argentina with Yunis to continue your preparation “We started working together last year, in August, when I was over 480th in the ranking after many injuries. I grew up in Germany playing on brick dust, so I’ve always felt comfortable on this surface, especially with Fran by my side. Thanks to him I have stabilized my tennis a lot“he explained at a press conference after his victory against Feliciano López.
But when the coronavirus arrived and the suspension of the circuit, it again saw its growth interrupted and even had to return to his country on a repatriation flight. “The German government announced a plane to repatriate some citizens, but I almost didn’t make it. In the end I got one of the last tickets. I was very happy and relieved “he described after the event.
With Yunis quarantining in San Nicolás, province of Buenos Aires and Altmaier in Germany, the Argentine trained the German thanks to video calls. “Sometimes he would wake up at 5am, he was sleepy when putting the camera on, but it was great. We were able to have an 11-week block with focus on physical work and that helped a lot. As for tennis, I was not doing that much. I was keeping my game, I would say, but at the same time, physical work gave me confidence to go out and play, to be in shape, “he told Tennis.com in his interview. After the return of the circuit, Yunis traveled to Europe with Juan Pablo Ficovich since he was going to play the Todi Challenger (same tournament as Altmaier) quarantining him.
Thanks to that physical focus that Yunis provided (seconded by the physical trainer Martin Rizzo), the German is showing its fruits in this Roland Garros. Thanks to her ranking (186 °) she was able to qualify for qualifying and overcome it without any shocks. Once classified, he began to surprise as soon as the tournament began. In the first round she got rid of Feliciano López (57 °), in second he beat Jan-Lennard Struff (32 °) and in third he did the same before Matteo Berrettini (8th) with whom he coincidentally shared Challengers between 2016 and 2017.
In the round of 16 of the French Open will be measured against Pablo Carreño Busta (18 °) and one of the semifinalists of the last US Open.