Wimbledon | Van Rijthoven breaks through

Dutchman Tim Van Rijthoven made a name for himself when he won his home event, the Libema Open title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch by defeating the then world No.2 Daniil Medvedev in the final for the loss of just five games having earlier in the week, dispatched Taylor Fritz, Ugo Gaston and Felix Auger-Alissime to make the title round.

For me it was just about keeping the ball in play and make him play a lot of shots, give him a chance to miss, basically Tim Van Rijthoven

That win on the Rosmalen grass courts immediately earned him a wild card for Wimbledon where he is now his name is now being noticed after breezing through into the fourth round much as Medvedev predicted he would following his defeat.

He said of the 25 year-old: “If he plays like today, he is Top 10 soon. He’s going to have his opportunities to become a great tennis player, but tennis life is not easy, so let’s see how he handles it.”

And the boy from Rosendaal is doing well so far having comfortably beaten the 22nd seed, Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-3 6-4 to become the first Dutchman since Sjeng Schalken in 2004 to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam tournament.

“For me it was just about keeping the ball in play and make him play a lot of shots, give him a chance to miss, basically,’ Van Rijthoven said following his win.

The world number 104 will now play the defending champion Novak Djokovic unless he falls to his Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanović, who meet later in the day (Friday).

“Before the tournament started, it was a dream for me to play him,” Van Rijtoven said of Djokovic. “To be able to have that chance and to maybe even play on Centre Court or Court 1 is beautiful and magical.”

“I go into every match thinking I can win. Also against Djokovic I’ll go into that match thinking I can win.”

That possibility is at least 48 hours away but in the meantime, he can bask in the spotlight at what he has achieved so far, especially in upsetting a seed at Wimbledon, with his all-court game.

“It was not like any other match. I think he’s a very streaky player. Can play very well at times, can also make some mistakes at times,” is how he recollects his latest win.

“For me it was just about keeping the ball in play and making him play a lot of shots, giving him a chance to miss basically.”

A contemporary of Medvedev in their junior days, Van Rijthoven (who reached the last eight of the Boy’s Junior event) could be said to be a late developer when it comes to the pro tour but in the last three years he has suffered a series of injuries including a bout of ‘golfer’s elbow’.

“I’ve had my ups and downs, injuries here and there. I’ve also struggled mentally. I’m just happy to be in the place I am right now. I hope to be there for a couple more years, or a lot more years actually.” he said.

If he keeps up the result he his name will become even more recognisable

Tim van Rijthoven (R) is congratulated by Nikoloz Basilashvili after heir third round match

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images



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