Krajicek about tennis success: ‘Without Botic and Tallon, Tim would not have performed like this’
With Botic van de Zandschulp, the last Dutchman in Wimbledon’s singles found his Waterloo on Monday – but Dutch tennis is back on the map. Richard Krajicek, winner in London in 1996, thinks more success is on the way. “There is a certain belief in Dutch professional tennis.”
Krajicek says good results from certain players can create a flywheel effect in the sport. For example, the 50-year-old former tennis player is convinced that Tim van Rijthoven’s ‘dream weeks’ would not have taken place without the other successful Dutch tennis players, Tallon groenpoor and Botic van de Zandschulp.
“Then he would have played okay, but a tournament win and a fourth round at Wimbledon were not possible. Everyone pulls together.”
In recent weeks, it has mainly been about Van Rijthoven, who has launched himself like a rocket, but Krajicek also wants to mention the past year of Hellenic Spoor and Van de Zandschulp. The first won eight challenger tournaments in 2021 and is now in 53rd place in the world ranking. Van de Zandschulp reached the quarterfinals of the US Open and is now the world number 25.
Nevertheless, Krajicek also pays a little more attention to Van Rijthoven. Not surprising, because in 2017 and 2018 he was the trainer of the current number 104 in the world.
Krajicek thinks Van Rijthoven’s weeks could have been even more sensational if he hadn’t had to play against Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is the second best player on grass ever after Roger Federer. He is unbelievable. He was one of the few players Tim was able to stop at Wimbledon this year.
The former professional tennis player speaks of a bad luck draw. “With a different draw he could have reached the semi-finals or even the final.” Krajicek also thinks it is a shame that there were no points to be earned at Wimbledon this year. “Otherwise he would have been around seventy and he would have entered every tournament. Now he is dependent on wild cards.”
Nevertheless, Krajicek has a mainly positive feeling. He thinks that if he continues to play like this, Van Rijthoven will be able to storm the top. His character may also play a role in this. Krajicek calls Van Rijthoven a nice, humble and fresh boy. “I like that. Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are like that too. He comes across well, so that’s why you give it to him.”
Krajicek does not only predict success for Van Rijthoven. According to him, the good results of today can have a motivating effect for Dutch people who are now much lower in the world ranking. “Maybe there are still two or three Dutchmen heading towards the top-100. How cool is that?”
The good Dutch performance is not only noticeable within national borders. Roger Federer, who won Wimbledon eight times, is delighted to see that Dutch tennis is undergoing ‘a revival’. “Not every generation produces Wimbledon winners. Sometimes you have good batches and sometimes less. This also applies to Switzerland. I think the Swiss and Dutch can be proud. I’m happy for you.”
Federer about Van Rijthoven and ‘revival’ Dutch tennis: ‘Nice to see’
Federer was briefly in the Netherlands to give a tennis clinic for the Krajicek Foundation. The 40-year-old Swiss, who is struggling with a knee injury, hopes to be active again at Wimbledon next year, he said yesterday at a party of the tournament.
During the clinic Krajicek saw that Federer still has not forgotten and can still win Wimbledon, if his knee cooperates. “Why not? He’s so talented. You’re missing him now. I hope he can squeeze out two more Wimbledons.”
Krajicek, who is director of the ABN Amro tournament in Rotterdam, has not yet polled Federer for his tournament. “Federer knows every tournament wants him, so I don’t have to ask.”
Perhaps Krajicek will no longer have to hope for the Swiss, but that there are several Dutch toppers who will get the public in Rotterdam on the benches.
Krajicek did not poll Federer for ABN Amro tournament: ‘I don’t have to ask’