Tennis“It’s a great reward, after everything I’ve been through.”
Kilian Feldbausch, great hope of Swiss tennis, has just ended a rather gloomy year with the best performance of his career. The Genevan, 439th in the world, wants to continue moving forward.
- Simon Meier
Joined in the Canaries, where he was waiting for the return plane to Switzerland this Monday, Kilian Feldbausch is giving himself “two or three days” to land. The 18-year-old from Geneva, the youngest Swiss player to reach the final of a Challenger tournament since Roger Federer in 1999, completed his tough but constructive year 2023 by making the biggest leap of his career. Here he is ranked 439th in the ATP, determined to get back on track as quickly as possible.
Even if you ended up losing it to the Spaniard Pedro Martinez, we imagine you very happy after this first final on the Challenger circuit…
Yes, I am very happy to have played so well throughout the week, against good opponents. I was able to demonstrate consistency in my game and I am all the more satisfied that this performance comes on the heels of my first victory in a 15,000 tournament, in Florida. (editor’s note: he won five matches there, before achieving six other successes in the Canaries). The year ends better than it started.
Can we speak of a saving ray of sunshine at the end of a year weighed down by a lot of struggles?
It’s a great reward, after everything I’ve been through. There was this stress fracture in my right foot at the start of the year in Australia, then this relapse caused by a sole problem after my return to play in April. It wasn’t easy for my morale, because with my crutches, I couldn’t do absolutely anything. When I started again at the end of June, it was a bit complicated, I was logically not in the rhythm and it took me a while to put things back in place. I rediscovered the taste for victory during the interclubs, then I left for South America, where I was able to regain my confidence and pace. Then it happened.
Until this final in the Canaries, which makes you gain 220 places in the ATP rankings. So you finish in 439th place this year 2023 which you started with the number 938. Meets your expectations?
Given the circumstances, it is even very positive. Until recently, I imagined finishing the year around 700th place. There, I am very happy with the way I played and my ranking. It’s very good for morale and for the future.
How do you envision this sequel?
I will rest two or three days at home in Geneva, then I will begin my physical preparation with Nicolas Cabaret. This is an area where I need to work a lot. At the beginning of January I will start my season in South America – with my foot, for now it is best that I only play on clay.
You became the youngest Swiss to reach the final of a Challenger since some time… Roger Federer in 1999. What does that inspire you?
This makes me happy, obviously, because we are still talking about one of the greatest athletes in the world. But I try not to think too much about this kind of thing, not to get distracted.
What do you remember from this first season among adults?
I gained experience, that’s for sure. In my game as in my head, I learned that you had to be there all the time and show consistency at all levels: technical, physical, mental.
What sporting and quantitative objectives have you set for the year 2024?
Basically, I want to continue to progress in all areas, starting with my serve, something where I don’t give myself enough “free” points. If I work well, on my strengths as well as my weaknesses, I know that the rest will follow. In terms of ranking, I would like to finish next year around 230th place ATP in order to have access to the qualifications for the Australian Open in early 2025.
Will you pursue this goal with the same entourage?
Yes. I work with my mother, my father and my uncle. I feel comfortable in this family context and I have no intention of changing it for the moment. My mother and my uncle accompany me on the court, in training, while my father keeps a little more distance, while being very present at my side. I will continue like this and, as soon as my foot allows me to play on hard courts again, I will return for a week from time to time to Bienne, to Swiss Tennis, to work there with sparring partners.
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