The long queue could be seen from afar, and it was also clear that there, behind the screen in front of Court 13, almost at the western end of the facility, a German would certainly be playing. Of all the international spectators who attend this French Open in their thousands every day, probably no other section of the population likes to carry backpacks like the tennis enthusiasts from Allemagne. The squeezing on the narrow rows of seats was correspondingly intense, even the seats actually intended for the press were simply occupied, a man wearing a cap happily exclaimed: “I’m from Cologne City Gazette‘ which wasn’t true, but deservedly caused hilarity.
The first sentence between Jan-Lennard Struff and the Czech Jiri Lehecka didn’t last long, when another man calmly unpacked a plastic can and ate a piece of bread. Yes, the German fans felt at home. Well-known representatives of German tennis also contributed to the wonderful atmosphere, the smart Kevin Krawietz, who had already won the title twice in Paris with his former doubles partner in Roland Garros, clapped and shouted encouraging things, as did Dominik Koepfer, who played in the singles qualification in the third and last round was eliminated. “Struffi, let’s go”, it sounded, Matthias Breunig, the physiotherapist of the German Tennis Association, also tried his hand at being an animator. It has been noticeable for a long time: there may be fewer good German professionals at the lower end of the world, but at least the team spirit is there. In the past, German men in particular used to shine when they formed small groups, and that has gotten much better. Although of course no one hangs out more than their French tennis colleagues.
Ultimately, the mood could not carry Struff to success, the 33-year-old, currently the best-known citizen from Warstein, lost 5: 7, 6: 1, 3: 6, 6: 3, 1: 6. After his formidable past few weeks, in which he surprised especially in Madrid with the finals, Struff was seeded for the first time – as number 21 – in the draw. That only brought him the misfortune to receive Lehecka as an opponent who is said to have the potential of a Tomas Berdych; the former top player is also his mentor.
“I played too up and down today, I was quite good at times, then not so good again,” said Struff later soberly, “unfortunately it wasn’t enough today in the end.” He felt that the game was “a bit torn between the two of them”, because “we rarely both played our top level at the same time”. The good thing from a German tennis point of view should be that you don’t have to worry about this 1.93 meter tall professional, Struff has long exuded sovereign maturity and knows how to classify things. “It’s in tennis that there aren’t such great days.”
A conclusion that also aptly describes the entire German situation, this time in Paris there are truly fewer suitable opportunities to unpack your sandwich in the stands from day to day. Many DTB players are no longer on the road individually, although the second round only begins this Wednesday. Oscar Otte, 29, fought flawlessly, but lost to the talented Russian Alexander Shevchenko on Sunday 5: 7, 6: 4, 1: 6, 6: 7 (2), Jule Niemeier, 23, played at 3: 6, 4: 6 against the Russian Darja Kassatkina among her possibilities. On Monday, Tatjana Maria, 35, who was in the semifinals at Wimbledon 2022, had no chance against the brutal blows of the Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, 0: 6, 1: 6. After all, the second round reached Anna-Lena Friedsam, 29, from Neuwied, who, after beating the Japanese Nao Hibino 6:3, 3:6, 6:4, worked out a duel with the Russian Ekaterina Alexandrowa, who was in 23rd position.
Daniel Altmaier, 24, currently the most well-known person from Kempen (although the harmonica player Konstantin Reinfeld is also famous, only in harmonica circles), defeated the Swiss Marc-Andrea Hüsler 6:3, 6:4, 6:4 through, who defeated Alexander Zverev in the Davis Cup in February. The ninth in the world rankings, Jannik Sinner from Italy, is an even greater hurdle as his opponent in the second round, but the tidy Altmaier, who plays a fine one-handed backhand and recently experienced a development boost, is confident. “I have a clear vision and I go out there to win,” he said firmly. This is certainly a correct approach. Otherwise he would not have to go on the pitch as 79th in the world rankings.
Alexander Zverev finally reached the second round on Tuesday afternoon, the 26-year-old seemed a bit disorganized for a long time. 20 slight mistakes in the first and 15 in the second set documented that despite the 7:6 (6), 7:6 (0), 6:1 victory over the South African Lloyd Harris, who injured his calf during the game, he was not satisfied could be. Which he also admitted in the interview on the pitch. He threw a loud “No!” at the microphone. when she asked him if he was happy with his game. Zverev laughed, it had gone well. The relief, a year after his serious accident on the Philippe-Chatrier court, in which seven ligaments in his right foot were torn, to play another match at the French Open and to have succeeded, could be seen in him. Although this time he played in the small stadium called Court Simonne-Mathieu. “It’s very, very nice to be back,” said Zverev. “It was great fun out there.” He will now meet Slovakian Alex Molcan on Thursday, whom Zverev has known since his youth. By the way, judging by the names of his opponents, his journey through the tournament could be less scary. Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, a possible quarter-final duelist, surprisingly lost to Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild, number 172 in the world, on Tuesday 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-2, 3-6, 4:6.