He reached the final at Eastbourne last Saturday where his serve and volley game brought a new freshness to the modern game which spectators at the AELTC were introduced to on Tuesday when Maxime Cressy knocked Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime, the sixth seed at this year’s Championships, out of Wimbledon 6-7(5) 6-4 7-6(9) 7-6(5).
I've been working so hard and so many hours to get to this point. I had to prove a lot of people wrong that serve and volley was not extinct Maxime Cressy
For the older generation, Cressy’s game will be a delight as it reminds them of the heyday of players, more specifically the array of Australian legends and more recently Stefan Edberg, Pat Rafter, Pete Sampras and Britain’s own Tim Henman.
“It’s incredibly special to be playing here at Wimbledon,” the Paris born American said. “It’s a dream come true to be able to compete at these tournaments.
“I’ve been working so hard and so many hours to get to this point. I had to prove a lot of people wrong that serve and volley was not extinct.
“I had to stay resilient with the serve and volley. That’s what I did today and that’s what got me the win.”
The 25-year-old Cressy looked at home on his debut on the grass of Wimbledon which his run at Eastbourne will no doubt have helped.
“I started serve and volleying when I was 14 and nobody has been able to convince me otherwise to stop,” he reportedly said during the warm-up events for Melbourne last January.
And as the score line suggests, his opening match was close and a contest between two proficient servers with very little between them but an unfortunate double fault in the tie-break gave Auger Aliassime the advantage to take the first set.
Of the two, the Canadian looked the more comfortable having reached the quarter finals last year by upsetting Alexander Zverev but losing to Matteo Berrettini. He also made the last eight and last four respectively at his two grass court warm-up events but even so, Cressy was one of those players most would have liked to avoid, especially in the first round.
Cressy responded to losing the first set by forcing his opponent to an error which handed him the first break of the match in the third game of the second to level at a set apiece.
From that moment the momentum swung the American’s way. He saved two set points before converting on his third in a 20-point third set tie-break.
With the match reaching the four-hour mark, Cressy had his chance to close it out, missing a match point but then claiming the match in the tie-break.
“A lot of nerves, honestly, but an incredible feeling,” he described those last moments of victory. “It’s my first really big win here at my first Wimbledon, so incredibly special for me.”
Sefanos Tsistispas arrived in SW19 having boosted his confidence by reaching the quarter final at Stuttgart and, last Saturday, winning the Mallorcan Open in his keenness to improve on his record at Wimbledon which featured three first round losses in four appearances.
And he achieved that when he beat the Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard 7-6(1) 6-3 5-7 6-4 after three and a half hours on No.1 Court.
“I love playing on these courts. I love the serve-and-volley game, coming in as much as I can, slicing (and) attacking,” he added
“The thing that I hope for this year is just get past the first round and see where that leads after,” he admitted.
And he couldn’t have drawn a better opponent than the world No.188 making his debut at Wimbledon albeit arriving in the main draw after honing his game on the grass courts at Roehampton during the qualifying competition.
Ritschard put up some resistance in the early stages taking a 4-1 lead, but Tsitsipas responded with some attacking tennis to level and while he was unable to convert one of six set points in the ensuing games, he dominated the opening set’s tie-break.
Ritschard continued to press and he was eventually rewarded for his exertions when he claimed the third set to keep himself in contention but that effort seemed to drain him as Tsitsipas prevented the match going into a fifth.
“It’s pure, clean tennis. I haven’t had the privilege of starting Wimbledon with a title before the week before,” the Greek fourth seed said. “That gives me a lot of confidence on having a strong start this year.
“It made me kind of fall in love more with the surface.”