After Dominic had been unable to play in any tournaments or matches for 38 days due to a long-lasting foot injury, Prague was all about gaining important insights into where he was currently standing. During the injury period, Dominic worked intensively on his physical condition, strength and rehabilitation. With the help of many, an even longer absence from the tennis court could be prevented.
What a week it was at the Challenger Tournament at the Prague Open. Uncertain about his playing strength and whether his foot would hold, he looked from round to round. For the first time a physio was at Dominic’s side. With Philipp Purkert the team DS could strengthen itself further and he will stand also in the future at the one or other tournament with the side of Dominic. And how important this was, you could see at the end of the week. The tournament started and it was pure spectacle. After a “relaxed” first round, one nerve-racking match after the other followed. Dominic improved from day to day and his confidence in the game returned more and more. Three matches over the full distance followed. Each match was full of suspense and on a very high level.
In the semi-finals Dominic faced the No. 1 of the tournament. Filip Krajinovic ATP 74 (best ATP ranking was 26). In the first set he was 2:5 behind, but managed to turn it around and win 7:5. The second set was lost 5:7. After a “pee break” and a new shirt, it was Dominic who took over the reins. 5:0 with double break, the victory was close. But Filip Krajinovic did not let up and suddenly it was 5:3. Dominic kept his nerves and won the match and entered the final.
The tall Austrian, Sebastain Ofner ATP 122, faced a player who has already played in four finals this year and has hardly lost a match lately. Dominic started timidly and some pain in his foot became noticeable. Break chances on both sides. But none succeeded. So it came to the tie-break and Ofner made no more mistakes. 6 winners from him and it was 2:6. 4 set points for Ofner. But Dominic made point after point and at 5:6 a seemingly impossible to play longline ball. 6:6 and again point Ofner. 6:7 Dominic served twice and scored again. 8:7 Dominic and a long rally with the better end for Dominic. Stricker won the first set and this after 5 defended set points. In the second set a break at 4:3 was enough and a short time later Dominic served the match home. What a victory after a long absence from the tennis court. What a comeback.
With this victory Dominic even got himself a Swiss record. Until now Stan Wawrinka was the only Swiss tennis player who had a total of four tournament victories in the men’s U21. With this 5th title Dominic has now overtaken Stan the Man and he is the sole holder of this record.
📸Credits: Pavel Lebeda