Stand-up man Neuchrist fights his way back into the Grand Slam qualifications – ÖTV

There are only a few top Austrian players who have been stopped by injuries as often as Maximilian Neuchrist in the last ten years or so. Again and again the Viennese had to fight back after setbacks. And although there are already two tasks at ATP Challenger tournaments in the still young season, the ailments of the 1.93-meter giant in the last year and a half have mostly been smaller and a (v) tolerable one Degree, with shorter downtimes, reduced – which has enabled a targeted attack on better ranking positions.

The effects of this are becoming more noticeable on the tour these weeks. Now 31 years old, Neuchrist is currently in the best phase of his career. From August 5, 2019 to October 25, 2021 he was consistently outside the ATP top 600, on May 2, 2022 he was outside the top 500 again – since then, however, the form and ranking curve has been rising steeply, and he has been too fully established at the ATP Challenger level. Only around eleven months later, on April 3, the ATP computer will spit him out at least in rank 210 or just above, well ahead of the previous career high of position 244 on July 30, 2018. And that after that was mostly with the Swiss Association in Neuchâtel under the Argentine ex-professional Pablo Minutella training ÖTV ace had several times already considered and planned a specialization in doubles. There he is currently ATP ranked 164, not far from his career high of 135th place.

French Open waving, Wimbledon probably too

But it’s not just the previous career best rankings that Neuchrist will improve these days. He is reaping the well-deserved reward for the hard work and impressive standing qualities that he has had to show in recent years – by being able to compete again in the highly endowed Grand Slam qualifiers thanks to his leap in the rankings. He had only received this honor once before, at the US Open in New York in 2018, where he was only eliminated by a hair’s breadth in the first qualifying round. Thanks to his recent strong results, he currently appears at ATP rank 248 and is now almost certain of his debut at the French Open in Paris (May 22 to June 11).

Things are not only looking good for Roland Garros, the highlight of the clay court season, but also for the grass classic of Wimbledon in London (June 26 to July 16), as Neuchrist only has 31 ATP points after the French Open defend. For comparison: He has already collected 30 again this week – and there would be another 20 if he were to win his quarterfinals at the Mexico City Open late this evening. At the ATP 125 clay court challenger in the Mexican metropolis, the city dweller is currently showing his best side again, including four wins in the last eight. Thanks to a 7: 6 (2), 7: 6 (5) against the seventh-seeded Brazilian Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves (ATP 164), he even managed his best success of the season so far in terms of ranking. The next hurdle does not seem insurmountable either: the Swiss Antoine Bellier (ATP 175) is waiting, who only made it through two hard-fought three-set victories.

Gerald Melzer is also working on returning to the top level

For another red-white-red stand-up man, however, things did not go so well overseas. Gerald Melzer has been trying to make a comeback since the second week of March after stubborn foot injuries. In Antalya (ATP Challenger 75), where he was unable to compete in the main competition, and in Székesfehérvár he was able to fight his way through the qualification and earn ATP points, but not in Zadar and now also in Mexico City. After a set and break lead and a serve to win the match in the second set, the Lower Austrian (ATP 361) had to admit defeat to Kazakh Dmitry Popko (ATP 402) in the first qualifying round 6: 4, 5: 7, 1: 6 . But even with the 32-year-old, one can certainly look forward to his further comeback steps. With the fight back, the former world number 68. also already a lot of experience…

Here are all the results of the ATP 125 Challenger in Mexico City.


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