His idol is … Stan Wawrinka
We will start with that to situate the character for you. Daniel Altmaier swears by Stan Wawrinka. So, the German has more taste because he supports someone who has three Grand Slams in his bag. But at a time when the new generation has grown up following the exploits of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, it really sets it apart. Finger pointed at the temple like his idol, the German always pulls himself up mentally.
If you’ve watched one of his matches, you must not have missed it: Altmaeir is not the low key type, but in a good way. He strongly encourages himself, but it doesn’t go any further. By listening carefully, you must have heard French. And yes, if some “come on“come out of his mouth, a few”go“get lost from time to time. Again, there is the Wawrinka paw behind.”When I watched him play he always said, ‘Come on, Stan’. I copied it a bit because I like to say: ‘Come on Dan’. So I like to mix the two to encourage myself, I have to be my best friend on the court. I encourage myself like that sometimes.”
The two men know each other well and share the same sponsor (Yonex). The Swiss did not fail to congratulate him on his Parisian performances. For the record, he likes Roger Federer too. And if his goal is to win a Grand Slam, it is the grass of Wimbledon which has always been his preference. “If I could pick one this would be this one“he said two years ago.
Daniel Altmaier at Roland-Garros 2020
Credit: Getty Images
A rough style that has evolved
You saw it, Altmaier is a player who hits a lot, but especially who crunches the brain. Feliciano Lopez, Jan-Lennard Struff, Matteo Berrettini were able to realize it: the tennis of the 186th world vampirizes that of his opponent. Rather of the basic Wawrinka type, the 22-year-old likes to be in control and score points with his one-handed backhand that resembles that of the Vaudois. On the forehand side, it’s less powerful, but it slaps well when it goes down the line. Rather complete, he also goes to the net. It is a versatile.
“I don’t like defending in general and waiting for mistakes from my opponents. I like being the actor on the court, having control over events and control of the game in general. I am an aggressive person, but different. I like to be tactically unpredictable“, he said in 2017. Since then, his style of play has evolved slightly. It’s less rough.
His tennis development, it was his Argentine coach Francisco Yunis who brought him. The Argentinian is a veteran of the circuit and a relentless technical progress: he coached the best Argentinian players (Franco Squillari, Agustin Calleri, Carlos Berlocq, Horacio Zeballos, and Leonardo Mayer) as well as Magnus Norman in the mid-1990s and Nicolás Kiefer. The one who also the coach of another player who goes up, Federico Coria, has put a South American team at the bedside of Altmaier, rather the type to work.
Started in August 2019 at the suggestion of Magnus Norman (the Altmaier manager asked the Swede if he knew a coach available to recover “Dani”), their collaboration has borne fruit: Altmaier has gained 296 places in the ATP ranking and had a pretty crazy 2020 season. With 21 successes on the Challenger circuit (37 across all circuits), he has the second best record in the second division of the professional circuit, a circuit which has allowed him to make a big leap forward in recent months. “He’s a kid who has a lot of qualities“, he said to the El Norte site in June.
Very comfortable on ocher, Almaier had a big click at the beginning of September after a great victory against Lorenzo Musetti, the hero of the Masters 1000 in Rome, in the semi-final of the Challenger de Cordçons. The result took him to the round of 16 at Roland Garros on his first attempt, having lost only one set … in qualifying. “This boy is sure of himself. It feels good to see someone so carefree and happy“, analyzed our consultant Arnaud Di Pasquale.
The injuries cost him nine months of absence
Impossible to say what will be the career of Daniel Altmaier after this Roland-Garros because the kid is rather fragile physically. His participation in Paris was decided only on the eve of the start of qualifying after yet another problem in the semi-final of the Challenger d’Aix-en-Provence against his compatriot Oscar Otte. Last May, when Germany resumed its post-containment activities, he was injured during an exhibition tournament against his compatriot Dustin Brown. His body is not helping him.
In March 2018, a serious hip injury, and abdominals, totally slowed his progress and put him on the mat. With consequences that are still being felt today. As a result, Altmaeir is particularly meticulous. “I first had a shoulder injury, then I injured my hip on a hard court after a fall. I already have recurring problems, muscle and other abdominal problems, near the lucky zone. It didn’t help. It was really not funny.”
Present in Argentina at the time when the Covid-19 pandemic began, the German, who was preparing at the time Roland Garros number one, that of May, was able to leave home with a flight of returnees at the request of the German consul of Argentina. This confinement allowed him to do a lot of physical preparation, the effects of which he is feeling today.
“I worked a lot on the areas where I hurt myself a lot. I worked via Zoom with Esteban, my physical trainer who is in Argentina. We worked for eleven weeks, based on 5 or 6 days. Sometimes he would get up at 5am to give me my schedule and push me through my sessions. It means a lot to me what he does. I believe the work is paying off. ”
He’s a Sky Fellow
Rupert Murdoch’s multi-card empire, BSkyB, has diversified over the years. Between 2010 and 2019, the success of the Sky in the Pro Tour, with its six coronations on the Tour de France, has not escaped anyone. Alongside its former cycling activity, the British Empire launched in the early 2010s, the Sky Sports Scholars, a scholarship program which supports the careers of athletes from all walks of life. Intended for British and Irish athletes, over a three-year cycle, it also extends to the branches of the countries where the group broadcasts: Italy, Austria and Germany. This is where it concerns Altmaeir, who became a Sky scholarship holder.
“On the financial question, I have always had the chance to have a good structure with me which helps me financially. I have also had an investor since I was very young. He always believed in me. Thanks to that, I have always been able to do my job, to play tennis“, he said on the financial record, a real stone in the shoe of all aspiring players.”I never had any problems with the money especially thanks to the sponsors. There is the social situation of my family: I think that without the sponsors I would not have been able to envisage a career as a tennis player.“
The tennis player therefore became a grant holder of this fairly developed program in October 2017, even becoming the first foreign athlete in the United Kingdom to receive this financial support. This program does not only bring money, but also rather comprehensive career support. Athletes meet, exchange with each other during trips and are all followed by a mentor who provides, among other things, sports advice, career support as well as a contribution concerning the business and asset management part, something also done by the program. .
Altmaier’s mentor is Adam Smith, who is a journalist and TV producer by profession, in charge of the boxing section at Sky Sports since 2010. The Briton and Altmaier get along well, see each other often, as the program wants and Smith debriefs all his matches for Sky Sports. “I am very happy to have a stable team by my side. My management also helps me in the choice of my staff, as well as in the management of the money, so that I am financially stable.”
Altmaeir is … more Russian than German
After his great victory against Matteo Berrettini, Daniel Altmaeir appeared in front of the microphones, completing the roadmap with the usual formalities. And at the end he spoke … in Russian, which is not given to everyone. The story is simple: Daniel Altmaier was born in Kempen, a town of about 40,000 inhabitants located in the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia not far from the Netherlands, in September 1998. But although German on paper, it is more from the East.
“I have Russian origins. My father is Ukrainian and my mother is from Russia. That’s why I speak Russian. I grew up speaking Russian at home. My whole family is Russian“, clarified the new center of interest of German tennis. As proof, the emotional nickname of Daniel is”DaneckaThe story of her family obviously echoes that of the Zverev family, also of Russian origin and who left Sochi to settle in Hamburg in 1991.
Sport is a family affair with the Altmaiers, it’s a culture: Jurij, his father, is a former Ukrainian amateur boxer. This very protective family has often accompanied him in the various stages of his career, especially the first ones when he was in the juniors. It was well worth a message in Russian for his own.