Rudi Molleker had a great start in Stuttgart – and an unexpected meeting was added.
By Florian Goosmann from Stuttgart
Sensational victory at the ATP-Challenger in Heilbronn, without having won a Challenger-Match before, now the second ATP main field after the appearance in Hamburg last year – and the first victory: In Stuttgart Rudi Molleker won against Jan-Lennard Struff (65th) with 6:4, 6:7 (5), 6:3 and celebrated his nominally biggest success of his career.
Molleker had slipped into the main field with a wildcard: “His” wildcard was actually intended for Maximilian Marterer, who had slipped directly into the main field after the cancellations of Gael Monfils and Hyeon Chung.
At the junior tournament in Roland Garros a week ago, Molleker was surprisingly eliminated at the start, but that’s over. “It wasn’t easy, many people expected me to win there after the Challenger win,” explained the extremely tidy Molleker in Stuttgart – he didn’t play particularly well because of this pressure. But not too bad. “I know I can play good tennis. But I have to retrieve it every day, and that’s what I’m working on.”
The timetable for next week has changed for Molleker due to the Heilbronn victory. I have decided with the DTB not to play any junior tournaments for the time being. So I’m not in Wimbledon, so I’ll play a few tournaments in Germany. These include Halle, Marburg, Braunschweig. Then the qualification in Bastad, then probably Hamburg,” said the 17-year-old. And the greatest goal? “Maybe to qualify for the Australian Open. “New York is still open, but I’m not pushing myself yet.”
Shortly before his press conference he had a very special meeting in Stuttgart – with the tennis superstar par excellence. “My coach called me and said,’Come here quickly! “Quick!” And outside, Roger was sitting with his coach. It was a great honour to speak with him.” Federer had given his opening press conference shortly before and subsequently attended other media events.
Federer is also the great inspiration in tennis in general, Molleker continued. “Playing in the same tournament as Roger is unbelievable to me.” Is it enough for more, like a match against the Maestro? For the time being unlikely – as Molleker also knows. “I’m a long way from him in the draw, I’d have to get a long way.” In concrete terms, Molleker is in the lower half, a duel against Federer would only be possible in the final. “Hopefully someday,” he said.
But his chances are not too bad without Federer: instead of Federer, who is seeded one, Molleker will face last year’s winner Lucas Pouille, the number two of the tournament in the round of 16.
To the Single Draw in Stuttgart