The almost unexpected ATP text message arrived while Alexandre Müller was at the restaurant! Thanks to Argentina’s Federico Delbonis’ last-minute forfeit, the 24-year-old Frenchman, 210th in the world and 6th on the initial list of Australian Open substitutes, found himself on court no.6 two hours longer. late … to afford his first Grand Slam victory (and on the main round) against another Albiceleste representative, Juan Ignacio Londero, ranked 83rd in the ATP (4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6 -3).
“When I saw who I was playing, I knew there was a great opportunity to pass the round. I’m glad I got it, he smiles. After Richard’s withdrawal (Editor’s note: Gasquet) two days ago, there was only one missing. I just knew there were quite a few players who could potentially opt out. But no one did. I was starting to not believe it too much until the good news. “
Strict isolation for two weeks
Boldness and patience will therefore have paid off in the end. Released in the last round of the qualifications disputed in Doha, the native of Poissy made the choice to go to Australia as an “alternate” despite the health constraints linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bad luck, the young Habs found himself among the 72 players forced to spend two weeks in strict isolation juggling the square meters of their room …
“Mentally, it was complicated, he confided to us just before finding the freedom, the sun, the fresh air… and an apartment with a balcony rented for the rest of the stay. I worked out in the morning and afternoon thanks to the sessions sent by my trainer who stayed in France. He assured me that I was not wasting my time and that I could even improve during this period. I didn’t hit the bed with the ball like others. I only did shadow, blank gestures. There was not especially the place and I know that tennis, it is not lost. When you’re injured, you’re used to not touching the racket. I don’t think kicking a mattress can fix it. “
Already a nice check
Like most of his comrades in misfortune, whose skin on his palms has softened, Muller saw the light again by turning on a large bulb in his hand which prevented him from training normally. During the week, he was able to make a match (defeat against Australian Nick Kyrgios in the decisive game of the 3rd set) during one of the preparatory tournaments organized in Melbourne Park.
“But I had a big bruise under the bulb after trying to pierce it,” he says. So, I think I haven’t even played an hour and a half since Kyrgios… With my coach, we said to ourselves that I was going to be mentally fresh. Maybe that’s why in the first set, I wasn’t too strong. “
Enough to make a success of a daring bet, but ultimately a winner on all fronts. His presence in the second round, where he will face another Argentinian, Diego Schwartzman (semi-finalist of the last Roland-Garros), ensures him a nest egg of around 96,000 euros, knowing that his earnings in seven years of professionalism amount to 272 000 euros …
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr