NoOf course it is about victory; Even the best collection of unforgettable moments isn’t complete when the other one wins. But what Oscar Otte experienced at Wimbledon last June evening will fill many pages in his album of memories.
It would probably be an exaggeration to say that he pushed the great Andy Murray to the brink of defeat, but without his fearless, cheeky demeanor, it would never have turned into the spectacle of a special sport. Murray led himself and his men to victory with timpani and trumpet in five sets, Otte made a powerful impression and reminded emphasizing that not only boys in the top hundred of the rankings can play great tennis.
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The 27-year-old from Cologne has been a professional for ten years, most of which he spent on the Challenger Tour. It is extremely difficult for world rankings to collect so many points that they are enough for the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, and usually only a rocky road through qualification helps. Which is to be taken very literally in the case of championships, as the grass pitches in the qualifying tournaments in Roehampton are notorious for their position. But he made it to Wimbledon for the first time, finishing in the main draw in Paris a few weeks ago and considered himself up for victory in five sets spread over two days.
In Paris he lost to Alexander Zverev after a 2–0 lead in five sets; In the beginning he hit every ball, in the end he ran out of fuel. But the challenge against Murray was huge in every way; A game on the world’s most famous tennis court against the two-time Wimbledon winner, 7500 dead fans in the stands, Scott’s 238th Grand Slam game, the Cologne player’s sixth game. But Otte could hardly have done better.
Of course everyone was there for Murray, he said later, but he tried to get as much good energy out of the scenes for himself. Sometimes he would throw balls at Murray’s feet with such force that it was as if lightning had struck; Then he patiently engaged in backhand slice duels, never feeling like he was up for the job. but unlike; Murray sometimes felt like he could think of nothing more to annoy this cheeky, unconventional guy on the other side.
Who knows how things would have turned out if the roof had not been closed due to daylight at a score of 2:2 in the fourth sentence. Ote was leading the 2-1 set at this point, Murray complained, but he came back from the break with fresh energy and the courage to play more aggressively. “It’s hard to say,” thought Otte. “With the roof down and the lights on I lost my rhythm when I was serving and then I made it worse.” And the other could no longer be stopped. The final hour of the game brought back the emotional, invincible Scottish warrior. Otte came back as good as it could have been, but it was no longer enough.
Zverev almost effortlessly
What did they take away from the spectacular premiere at Wimbledon’s Center Court? First of all, praise and encouragement from Murray, who said upon his handshake: “Keep working, keep playing, as before, then the result will come.” Otte thanked the Scotsman and told him that he was his icon. Yes, a win at Wimbledon that evening would have been an incredible bang, with an exclamation pointing out the size of Big Ben.
But he was right when he left center court with the index finger raised. The positive energy of this evening opens up new avenues and builds confidence that at the age of 27 you will be able to leave the difficult world of Challenger tournaments. Otte’s last words before leaving? “Now I’m going to play the piano for a few days, and then the house will be in full swing again.”
But attacks on the island continue as well. With Dominic Koefer still in the tournament after a rollercoaster ride in Round Two, this Friday’s next stop is Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut. And Zverev, the number one in the German men’s team, looked as confident in a second-round victory against American tennis Sandgren (7:5, 6:2, 6:3) as if there were never a set of losers at the beginning stages of the big tournament. .
Court no. 2 was more reminiscent of a friendly game and Zverev looked like he would love to play another set to entertain the audience. It was pretty neat for the second round, he said later, but things won’t be easy now. On Saturday, he will play again against an American who had knee surgery only three weeks ago by either Taylor Fritz or Steve Johnson.
One more step towards a great goal. At the recent French Open in Paris, after losing in the semi-finals to Stefanos Tsitsipas, he said he was no longer satisfied with good games only in the final stages. In other words, and reiterated at Wimbledon: “I’m at a stage in my career where I go to a tournament to win it.” It’s not about impressions for the album of memories anymore.
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